New Miss USA crowned amid turmoil at pageant

Thursday, May 16, 2024 - Amid resignations and allegations made against the Miss USA organization in the last two weeks, Miss Hawaii USA Savannah Gankiewicz, who was originally the first runner-up at the 2023 Miss USA pageant has stepped up to be crowned Miss USA.

“While this decision was not made lightly, I firmly believe that this opportunity was meant for me and I am ready to make a positive impact with this organization that I hold dear to my heart,” said the 28-year-old, who was crowned by the governor of Hawaii, Josh Green at a ceremony in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Wednesday, May 15.

“I am dedicated to taking action and making a difference. With my background as a certified mental health first aid responder and training in anti-bullying suicide prevention. I understand, the importance of prioritizing your well-being and advocating for those in need. I believe that the true change starts from within and I am determined to lead by example and empower the class of 2024 and beyond,” she said addressing a crowd in a hotel in Waikiki, a small aquarium in the background.

Gankiewicz has taken over the title from Noelia Voigt, who surprisingly gave up her crown earlier this month.

Voigt (pictured below with Miss Teen USA) cited mental health as her reason for stepping down, but her resignation letter to the Miss Universe organization, in her resignation letter she accused CEO Laylah Rose, of “actively building a culture of fear and control.”

Among her claims, she wrote that Miss USA management often failed to provide her with travel accommodations or an “effective handler,” the latter leading to an instance where Voigt says she was sexually harassed during a Christmas parade event in Sarasota, Florida, while alone with an unnamed person in a car.

Two days after Voigt’s resignation, Miss Teen USA 2023 UmaSofia Srivastava relinquished her title as well, writing on Instagram that her values “no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.”

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