Miss USA Savannah Gankiewicz 'Very Empathetic' Towards Noelia Voigt After Her Resignation (Exclusive)

  • Savannah Gankiewicz was crowned Miss USA 2023 on May 15 following the resignation of Noelia Voigt earlier this month
  • “I’m so glad the former titleholder is getting … help,” Gankiewicz tells PEOPLE after Voigt cited mental health reasons for retiring
  • Miss Teen USA 2023 UmaSofia Srivastava announced she is relinquishing her title just days after Voigt

The new Miss USA Savannah Gankiewicz is talking about taking over the crown after the recent resignation of Noelia Voigt.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE at the GRAMMY Museum Hall of Fame’s inaugural ceremony in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 21, Gankiewicz, 28, insisted she wants to “elevate” the organization amid the controversy surrounding it over the past few weeks.

Former Miss USA 2023 Voigt, 24, and Miss Teen USA 2023 UmaSofia Srivastava, 17, both resigned their titles within days of each other earlier this month.

Voigt, who was crowned in September, confirmed her retirement on Instagram on May 6, citing her mental health. She later told PEOPLE that she “will always be an advocate for mental health awareness and support.”

“The fact that I’ve been able to shine a light on it and be someone that people can look up to in that sense — and let people know that if something isn’t good for you, it’s okay to walk away from it,” she added. “I’m grateful to be a beacon for the people.”

Miss USA Savannah Gankiewicz attends the inaugural ceremony of the GRAMMY Museum Hall of Fame on May 21, 2024.

Sarah Morris/Getty

Former Miss USA Noelia Voigt Didn’t Know Miss Teen USA Was Also Resigning, Calls Her ‘Strong Young Woman’ (Exclusive)

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Srivastava then announced her decision to relinquish her crown two days after Voigt, sharing that her “personal values ​​are no longer fully aligned with the direction of the organization.”

Commenting on the resignations, Gankiewicz tells PEOPLE, “I’m definitely very empathetic to the former titleholders, and I’m very glad that the former titleholders are getting … help.”

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Gankiewicz was crowned the new Miss USA at a ceremony in her home state of Hawaii on May 15. “This is a great opportunity and responsibility and I am so honored to be able to take on this position as Miss USA.” she tells PEOPLE about receiving the honor. “And I really, really hope that I can really take this organization up and keep it going because this is something that I truly believe in.”

Insisting that she wants to “be able to use my voice and spread awareness” about things that are important to her like speaking out about the deadly wildfires in Maui, Gankiewicz tells PEOPLE, “Not only that, but all the new girls coming into the class of 2024 deserve to have Miss USA and I just want to be here and support them.”

Gankiewicz’s comments come after she spoke about her decision to accept the crown as she took the stage at last week’s ceremony at Alohilani Resort Waikīkī Beach.

Savannah Gankiewicz Honolulu miss USA

Savannah Gankiewicz was crowned Miss USA 2023 on May 15, 2024.

MediaPunch/Shutterstock

Before resigning as Miss USA, former employee spoke out about alleged ‘toxicity’ and ‘abuse’ at the organization

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“While this decision was not made lightly, I firmly believe that this opportunity is meant for me and I am ready to make a positive impact on this organization that is dear to my heart,” she told CNN.

“I am committed to taking action and creating change. With my background as a certified mental health first aid provider and trained in suicide prevention and anti-bullying, I understand the importance of prioritizing your own well-being and advocating for those in need,” Gankiewicz added, according to the media release. “I believe that true change starts from within and determined lead by example and empower the class of 2024 and beyond.”

Gankiewicz previously discussed Voigt’s resignation in a statement shared on Instagram. “I fully support and respect Noelia’s decision to step down and stand in solidarity with mental health awareness,” she said.

“I accept the crown knowing that I have been uplifted by my supporters, family, friends and the people of Hawaii throughout this journey. I accept this title on their behalf,” she added.

Miss Teen USA 2023, UmaSofia Srivastava and Miss USA 2023, Noelia Voigt

UmaSofia Srivastava and Noelia Voigt.

Craig Barritt/Getty

Amid the controversy following the resignations of Voigt and Srivastava, their mothers Jackeline Voigt and Barbara Srivastava met with Good morning America call for changes within the Miss USA pageant system.

“I want to make [it] clearly, it’s not about what they can get, about the rewards… it’s about how they were mistreated, abused, mistreated and cornered,” Barbara claims. – Their dream job turned out to be a nightmare.

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“We are committed to fostering a healthy, communicative and supportive environment for all contestants, state title holders, national title holders and staff,” the Miss USA Organization told ABC News in a statement.

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the text crisis line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

Categories: Trends
Source: HIS Education

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