New Miss USA officially crowned after former winner suddenly resigns

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HONOLULU (KHON) — A celebratory coronation took place in Honolulu as Miss Hawaii, a Maui native, was officially crowned Miss USA.

The Miss USA organization crowned Savannah Gankiewicz on Wednesday, days after previous titleholder Noelia Voigt gave up the crown on May 6.

Voigt cited her “mental well-being” in the announcement of her relinquishing the crown on her Instagram page. It marked the first time a titleholder of Miss USA has given up their crown.

Initially placed as first-runner-up in September, Gankiewicz stepped into the role with hopes of bringing a symbol of resilience and the aloha spirit across the nation.

She said she was unprepared for the backlash she received once she made the decision to accept the title. But she is not deterred on her decision.

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“I did not know I would be bullied and harassed and have death threats constantly from people I don’t even know and attacking my character,” Gankiewicz told Nexstar’s KHON. “But I wanted people to know that I’ve taken this title because I feel like it is a responsibility and an opportunity to make a positive change from within, and I can only do that from inside the organization and not standing out.”

The Maui native will travel to Los Angeles on Friday to meet with the Miss USA organization and will then move to Florida to complete her reign.

“[Gankiewicz’] dedication to empowering women through self-love and confidence is
inspiring, and we look forward to her impactful reign as Miss USA,” said Miss USA Organization president and CEO Laylah Rose.

The newly crowned Miss USA plans to use her two-and-a-half month reign to promote her platform about self-love and confidence for young women.

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