Miss Florida USA stripped of title
Genesis Davila loses crown after violating pageant rules
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Genesis Davila was Miss Florida USA 2017 for about a week.
"DREAMING on a cloud," the 24-year-old Miss Miami Beach USA said on Instagram after she received the tiara.
The Puerto Rican model fell hard from the cloud Friday morning. Grant Gravitt, executive producer of the Miss Florida USA pageant, told Local 10 News that she won't be wearing the tiara any longer.
Davila, who competed with 64 other women last Saturday for the title, is accused of violating pageant regulations.
"We have a zero-tolerance policy on rules," Gravitt told Local 10's Shyann Malone. "Whether it's something major or minor, it's all about keeping an equal and level playing field. Unfortunately, our title holder sought an unfair competitive advantage, and that's just not acceptable in our system."
Gravitt said Davila used professional stylists to help with her hair and makeup in her private room, which is a violation of pageant rules.
"She made a poor life choice," Gravitt said.
Gravitt said pageant organizers received multiple complaints from contestants, and there were also eyewitnesses.
"We finally had substantial proof to link her and her vendors to her room on an evening which they were not allowed," Gravitt said.
Although Gravitt didn't specifically say what proof he had, he said Davila's social media accounts sealed her fate.
"When one steps out of line, it's not fair to the other 64, and I couldn't look at the other 64 in the eye knowing that I had substantial proof to say, unfortunately, she sought an unfair advantage," Gravitt said.
The announcement automatically makes the runner-up -- Miss Sunny Isles Beach USA Linette De Los Santos -- the new Miss Florida USA 2017.
De Los Santos is a Nova Southeastern University law school student born in the Dominican Republic.
"I'm just excited to have this opportunity," De Los Santos said. "I didn't think it was going to happen, especially like this."
Makeup artist Luis Enrique Pina, who was unaware of the pageant's decision when he spoke to Local 10 News, described Davila as responsible and punctual.
"She is elegant and has a beautiful figure and she walks like a panther," Pina said about her performance on the catwalk. "She has a great future ahead of her."
At 5-foot-10-inches tall, Davila is a model with Front Management and was also crowned Miss World Puerto Rico in 2014.
Davila had dreams of one day being crowned Miss Universe, but with the pageant's decision, those dreams were cut short.
"This is not a good day for either the pageant or this poor lady," Gravitt said. "We wish her no harm. We wish her no ill-will. She made a bad choice, but she's a very good kid, and we wish her the best in her career."
Davila and her lawyers were scheduled to meet with Gravitt to surrender the crown late Friday afternoon. Davila was a no-show. Her lawyers did show up and promised to fight for Davila to keep the crown.
"She's still a queen," attorney Mayra Joll said. "She's still Miss Florida. She's still Miss Florida USA. Justice is going to be served."
Gravitt said it is a simple case of breaking the rules and the decision will not be reversed.
De Los Santos will represent Florida in the 2017 Miss USA pageant, which is the official qualifier for the Miss Universe pageant.
"I have waited for this for so long," De Los Santos said. "I've worked so hard for this."
Pageant producers are now deciding whether to edit the program to include the changing of the crown. The pageant airs Saturday at 9 p.m. on Local 10.
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