Filipino-American Miss USA says she’s been bullied, harassed since being crowned

Savannah Gankiewicz, who revealed she has been receiving death threats and hateful messages, was crowned Miss USA more than a week after the 2023 winner, Miss Utah Noelia Voigt, resigned for mental health reasons.


In this image provided by the Office of Governor Josh Green, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green crowns Savannah Gankiewicz Miss USA 2023 on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in Honolulu. Gankiewicz was crowned on Wednesday, more than a week after the previous titleholder resigned citing her mental health. PHOTO: OFFICE OF GOV. JOSH GREEN, MD/AP/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

May 27, 2024

LOS ANGELES – Former Mutya ng Pilipinas-Overseas Communities Savannah Gankiewicz, who was crowned Miss USA after the previous titleholder resigned earlier this month, has been dealing with bullying and harassment.

“Since I’ve gotten this title, I’ve dealt with a lot of bullying and harassment, and it really does, it breaks my heart,” Gankiewicz said in a video shared recently on X.

“Sorry. I didn’t want to cry, but I just feel like it’s hard, because I wish people saw where my heart is coming from,” she said. “And it’s helping Lahaina and helping Maui residents and having a platform, but also showing young women that you can get bullied and you can hurt but you stand back up and you keep going and you keep using your voice.”

Gankiewicz, who was born and raised on the island of Maui, represented Hawaii’s Fil-Am community in the 2017 Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant.

She was crowned Miss USA more than a week after the 2023 winner, former Miss Utah Noelia Voigt, resigned for mental health reasons.

The first runner-up at the Miss USA pageant last September, Gankiewicz accepted the title during a special coronation in Waikiki. She will hold the title until August.

In her resignation letter, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, Voigt alleged the pageant’s CEO failed to address a sexual harassment incident she raised.

The mothers of Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava – who also relinquished her title shortly after Voigt’s resignation – have also raised allegations of mistreatment by pageant organizers.

Gankiewicz told KHON-TV she received backlash for deciding to take on the remainder of the title’s term.

“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,” she said.

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