Hawaiian Native Savannah Gankiewicz Crowned Miss USA 2023 Amid Pageant Controversies

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In the tranquil heart of the Pacific, under the unique Hawaiian sun, Savannah Gankiewicz embraced the tiara, sash, and prestigious title of Miss USA 2023. Gankiewicz, glowing with the warmth inherent to her Hawaiian birthplace, humbly accepted the honor more than a week after the preceding Miss USA stepped down, primarily due to mental health concerns.

This island native, born amidst the lush tropics of Maui, stands as more than just beauty and elegance. As a successful model and a vocal advocate of women empowerment, she leads a nonprofit organization championing the same cause. Her multifaceted personality, combining both beauty and power, swept her to the position of first runner-up at the Miss USA event held last September.

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As the sun set on Wednesday, a unique ceremony unfolded, the beacon of tropical beauty donned her crown. Among the applauding audience were illustrious personalities, including Hawaii Governor Josh Green. Despite the stir of controversy she faced for her choice to serve the remainder of the title’s term, Savannah firmly held onto her resolve. During an interview with KHON-TV, she voiced her intentions.

“I chose to accept the title and responsibility, not to bask in the glory, but precisely for the opportunity to effect change from the inside,” she announced. “Only from within the organization can such positive transformation take place.”

Gankiewicz steps into the shoes vacated by the former Miss USA 2023, Noelia Voigt. Hailing from Utah, Voigt abdicated her prestigious crown on May 6, acknowledging the necessity of prioritizing her mental health. In a heartfelt statement, Voigt expressed her gratitude, advocating for the importance of not compromising one’s physical and mental wellbeing.

The shockwaves echoing from Voigt’s departure were only magnified when the titleholder of Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia Srivastava, shared a similar fate. The former Miss New Jersey Teen USA took her leave within days of Voigt’s resignation, sending ripples of astonishment through the Miss Universe Organization, the parent organization overseeing both pageants.

In her statement, Srivastava hinted at a personal disconnection with the organization’s direction, stating, “My personal values no longer fully align with the path of the entity.”

While the Miss USA 2024 coronation event looms on the horizon, scheduled to commence on July 24 and culminate on August 4, it is Gankiewicz who presently sports the coveted crown, breaking barriers and nurturing hopes until the end of her reign in August.