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Miss Hawaii USA offered Miss USA title after 2023 winner resigns

KYLE TERADA / USA TODAY SPORTS / JAN.  14 Miss Hawaii USA 2023 titleholder Savannah Gankiewicz during the final round of the Sony Open Hawaii golf tournament at Waialae Country Club.

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KYLE TERADA / USA TODAY SPORTS / JAN. 14

Miss Hawaii USA 2023 titleholder Savannah Gankiewicz during the final round of the Sony Open Hawaii golf tournament at Waialae Country Club.

Miss Hawaii USA Savannah Gankiewicz was offered the Miss USA crown after winner Noelia Voigt said Monday she was stepping down to prioritize her mental health.

Voigt, who represented Utah in the 2023 contest in Reno, Nevada, said in a statement on Instagram that resigning was “a difficult decision.” Voigt won the title in September.

“In life, I strongly value the importance of making the decisions that are best for you and your mental health,” she said.

Gankiewicz was the first runner-up. The other three finalists came from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Voigt, born in Florida, said she was the first Venezuelan-American woman to win Miss USA, which began in 1952. As the winner, Voigt then competed in the Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador in November. She placed in the top 20, and for the costume contest she wore an outfit depicting small models of monuments, including the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument and the White House.

His surprise resignation sparked questions among pageant fans, including those who noticed that the first letters of the first 11 sentences of Voigt’s statement spelled out: “I am silenced.” (The first letters of the last three sentences spell “hip.”)

Voigt and Miss USA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a statement on Miss USA’s Instagram account, the organization said it respected and supported Voigt’s decision to step down.

“The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand that she must prioritize herself at this time,” Voigt’s statement said. “We are currently reviewing plans to hand over responsibilities to a successor, and we will soon announce the crowning of the new Miss USA.”

Voigt said in her statement that her favorite aspects of being Miss USA included working with Smile Train, a nonprofit organization that supports people with cleft palates, and campaigning against bullying and for women’s rights. immigrants.

“Deep down, I know this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me,” she wrote, “and I hope I continue to inspire others to stand firm, to prioritize your mental health, advocate for yourself and others using your voice, and never be afraid of what the future holds, even if it seems uncertain.