Julia Belechak found out that her pageant “big sister” Sheena Monnin vacated the Miss Pennsylvania USA crown the same way many others did: on Facebook.
“I did get a call the very next day from Sheena though, telling me about her resignation and explaining some things,” Belechak revealed in an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “That kind of made up for finding it out on Facebook.”
The Miss Pennsylvania Teen USA title holder had made numerous appearances with Monnin in the six months they that they wore the crowns for the Keystone State. With the vacant title, Belechak will now assume the responsibilities of Miss Pennsylvania USA through December.
“I had a wonderful time getting to know her,” the 18 year-old said of Monnin. “She’s a great person.”
Belechak said that her conversation with Monnin following the resignation consisted of many of the same topics that the former titleholder would discuss with Ann Curry on NBC’s “TODAY.” But despite the incident and some of Monnin’s claims, the teenager has enjoyed her experience thus far with the Miss Universe Organization.
“I wouldn’t give it up for the world,” she said. “It’s been the best six months ever. I’ve achieved my goals as Miss Pennsylvania Teen USA and now I hope to achieve my goal as Miss Teen USA.”
Belechak will have her chance soon enough, as she prepares to fly to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas for the Miss Teen USA pageant. The event will stream live on-line July 28. The Cranberry Township native says that in addition to the competition, she’s most looking forward to the beach.
Sheryl Lee Ralph and I joined Nischelle Turner on HLN’s “Showbiz Tonight” to chat about the resignation of Miss Pennsylvania USA, Sheena Monnin and the lawsuit brought forth by the Miss Universe Organization and Donald Trump.. I was a judge for the Miss PA USA pageant, which took place last December in Pittsburgh.
For those who are unaware, I was a judge in October for Miss Connecticut USA 2012 and in December for Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012, the state qualifiers for the Miss USA pageant. Below is my official statement regarding the resignation of Sheena Monnin.
I can’t speak for Miss USA or Miss Universe, but on a state level – the process was fair, organized, and objective. Pageant Associates, the producer of a handful of state qualifiers for Miss USA including Miss Pennsylvania USA, runs a well-oiled operation that leaves zero room for any type of unfair result, accidental or not.
Ms. Monnin’s resignation surprises me for a plethora of reasons. First of all – she’s been in pageantry for over eight years and this was her third attempt at the Miss PA USA crown. I find it hard to believe that any part of this process can surprise her at this point. Second – Ms. Monnin still could have done a lot of good this upcoming year as Miss Pennsylvania USA with charities and non-for-profit organizations. If anything isn’t fair, it is the way in which she has attempted, intentionally or not, to steal the spotlight from Olivia Culpo and how she has stolen the Keystone State’s crown from a number of other well-deserving candidates.
For media inquiries, please contact Mark Goldman. Below is the Miss Universe Organization’s official statement:
MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION STATEMENT
The Miss Universe Organization can confirm the resignation of the Pennsylvania titleholder after she did not place in the Top 16 at the Miss USA pageant. In an email to state pageant organizers (below), she cited the Miss Universe Organizations’ policy regarding transgendered contestants, implemented two months ago, as the reason for her resignation. Today she has changed her story by publicly making false accusations claiming that the pageant was fixed, however the contestant she privately sourced as her reference has vehemently refuted her most recent claim.
We are disappointed that she would attempt to steal the spotlight form Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island on her well-deserved Miss USA win.
Date: June 4, 2012 7:25:59 AM PDT
I am officially and irrevocably resigning the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012. I refuse to be part of a pageant system that has so far and so completely removed itself from its foundational principles as to allow and support natural born males to compete in it. This goes against ever moral fiber of my being. I believe in integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer.
I hereby return the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012.