United States

Miss Teen USA Runner-Up Declines Crown After Winner Resigns

Miss Teen USA runner-up, Stephanie Skinner, declined the crown following the resignation of winner UmaSofia Srivastava amid scandal within the Miss USA Organization. Skinner, prioritizing integrity over title, cited concerns over recent controversies.

Stephanie Skinner Photo: Instagram

After UmaSofia Srivastava stepped down from her role as Miss Teen USA last week, the runner-up, Stephanie Skinner, has also declined the crown. Skinner, hailing from New Hartford, New York, expressed that accepting the title didn't sit right with her given the recent controversies surrounding the organization.

"I ultimately came to the decision to decline it," said Skinner, a 19-year-old student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. "I didn't feel like it was the right decision considering all the circumstances."

The turmoil within the Miss USA Organization intensified as both Srivastava, 17, and Miss USA, Noelia Voigt, aged 24, resigned from their positions. Additionally, Claudia Michelle, the organization's social media manager, also stepped down. Sources close to the matter revealed allegations of bullying against the organization's CEO, Laylah Rose.

Skinner, a dedicated advocate for female empowerment, emphasized that her integrity and principles take precedence over any title. Despite the personal sacrifice involved in turning down the crown, she stands firm in her decision.

"I've been working at this title since I was 12 years old. I missed birthdays, proms, and personal high school events training for this," Skinner shared. "Pageants have their stigma about being just about the glitz and the glam, but for me, it's about the advocacy."

Skinner's own organization, Hands of Hope, focuses on empowering teens with messages of self-acceptance, drawing from her experiences growing up in a single-parent household and surviving domestic violence.

The Miss USA Organization faces severe internal discord, jeopardizing its relationship with The CW Network, which broadcasts its pageants. The network is reassessing its association with the organization in light of recent events.

As the organization struggles to regain stability, Miss Hawaii, Savannah Gankiewicz, is set to assume the Miss USA title. However, Gankiewicz's acceptance has been met with criticism from disappointed fans who perceive a lack of solidarity within the pageant community.

Amid the backlash, Gankiewicz's mother, Yvienne Peterson, defended her daughter on social media, asserting her resilience against negative comments. Meanwhile, allegations of micromanagement and harassment within the organization continue to surface, indicating a deeper crisis that extends beyond recent resignations.