The Miss Teen USA first runner-up declined to take over the title, saying she'd 'never give up' her integrity

  • Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava resigned from their positions last week.

  • Miss Teen USA runner-up Stephanie Skinner of New York declined to take over as queen.

  • The organization has faced several resignations in recent weeks.

The Miss Teen USA first runner-up won't be taking over as queen.

On Wednesday, Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava announced she was resigning from her position just two days after Miss USA Noelia Voigt gave up her crown.

The Miss USA organization shared on Thursday that Miss Hawaii Savannah Gankiewicz, the first runner-up in the 2023 pageant, would be taking over as queen for the remainder of what would have been Voigt's tenure.

But on Sunday, Miss Teen USA's first runner-up, Stephanie Skinner, said she wouldn't be doing the same for the teen pageant.

A representative for Miss USA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Stephanie Skinner declined the title of Miss Teen USA

Skinner, who represented New York in the Miss Teen USA pageant, announced on Instagram that she "decided to decline the title of Miss Teen USA 2023."

In her statement, Skinner said she wouldn't be taking the crown because she already had plans to participate in a research project in Thailand over the summer through her college, the University of Pennsylvania, and because of her values.

Speaking to Business Insider, Skinner said her integrity and character played a big part in her decision.

"Although this was a dream — I've worked for this for years — for me, this meant more than a crown and sash," Skinner told BI. "I come from an untraditional family background. I come from a single-parent household. I'm a survivor of domestic violence. So this meant to be a voice for other people. That's what this meant for me."

"One thing I will never give up is my character, nor my integrity," she said. "So because of recent circumstances and the fact that I did give my word to my university's global research program this summer, I had to decline the role because I felt like that was what was best and what reflected my morals."

"I will always stand for female empowerment, and I'm a big believer in letting your actions go out in your words," Skinner also told BI. "So for me, as heartbreaking as it is, as I've always wanted to be Miss Teen USA, I believe that door and that chapter closed for me the night of the finale of that pageant."

She added: "And out of respect for Uma and Noelia and also because of my prior commitment, I just felt like this is the right decision, and I have to feel at peace with that."

Skinner told BI she still hopes to hold a national pageant title someday, but it won't be Miss Teen USA.

Both Srivastava and Voigt commented messages of support on Skinner's Instagram post.

"I am so grateful to call you my friend," Srivastava wrote. "You always leave me in awe of your dedication and integrity."

"Ever since I met you have I loved and admired you," Voigt wrote in her comment. "You continue to set a great example everywhere you go. Proud of you."

In her conversation with BI, Skinner described Srivastava and Voigt as friends and said she was "proud of them for standing up for what they believe in."

"I will send them love and support always, and I really respect them for making the decision that they feel is best for them," she said.

Several people have resigned from positions in Miss USA in recent days

Miss USA has faced a slew of resignations in recent days after a tumultuous 2022 and 2023, including allegations that the Miss 2022 USA pageant was rigged in Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel's favor.

When Voigt surrendered her crown on May 6, citing her mental health in a statement on Instagram, she became the first Miss USA in the pageant's 72-year history to voluntarily resign.

Srivastava followed suit two days later, saying her personal values "no longer fully align with the direction of the organization" in her Instagram statement about her resignation.

Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava
Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava resigned their titles.Chance Yeh/Getty Images for Supermodels Unlimited

In addition to the titleholders' resignations, Claudia Michelle resigned as Miss USA's social-media manager. She shared on Instagram on May 3 that she believed "Noelia and Uma's mental health and happiness has taken a toll and I cannot remain silent about that."

And on Friday, Miss Colorado Arianna Lemus gave up her title in support of Srivastava and Voigt.

"I think so many women forget their power, and organizations like Miss USA remind women how powerful you can become," Lemus told Business Insider's Anneta Konstantinides. "And that is my message today. I stand with my sisters, I stand by the injustice of her being silenced, so I resigned my title in solidarity so I can speak my truth and be a voice for the voiceless."

At the time of Voigt's resignation, Miss USA said in a statement to BI that "the well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritize herself at this time."

The statement added: "The organization is currently reviewing plans for the transition of responsibilities to a successor and an announcement regarding the crowning of the new Miss USA will be coming soon."

Then, on Thursday, the organization said it was "thrilled to announce that Miss Hawaii USA Savannah Gankiewicz is Miss USA 2023" in an Instagram statement.

The organization has yet to announce who will become Miss Teen USA following Skinner's decision not to take over as queen.

Read the original article on Business Insider