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Miss USA Steps Down in Unprecedented Resignation

Miss USA Steps Down in Unprecedented Resignation

Noelia Voigt, Miss USA 2023, with UmaSofia Srivastava, Miss Teen USA 2023.

On May 6, Miss USA 2023 winner Noelia Voigt announced that she would be stepping down from the title. In an Instagram statement, Voigt cited mental health reasons for her departure and expressed gratitude for the experience.

“Deep down I know that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me,” Voigt wrote, “and my hope is that I continue to inspire others to remain steadfast, prioritize your mental health, advocate for yourself and others by using your voice, and never be afraid of what the future holds, even if it feels uncertain.”

Noelia Voigt, winner of the Miss USA pageant in 2023, posted her resignation on Instagram.
On May 6, Miss USA 2023 winner Noelia Voigt announced via Instagram that she would be stepping down from the title.

Born in Florida, Voigt represented Utah in the 2023 pageant located in Reno, Nev. and was crowned in September. Voigt was the first Venezuelan-American to win Miss USA since its start in 1952, and she competed in Miss Universe in November representing the U.S.A.

Miss USA posted on Instagram following Voigt’s departure.

“We respect and support Noelia’s decision to step down from her duties,” the organization said.

Since her public resignation, Voigt’s decision has set off two other departures from Miss USA: UmaSofia Srivastava, Miss Teen USA, and Arianna Lemus, who represented Colorado in Miss USA 2023. Srivastava’s resignation followed just days after Voigt’s. Lemus said on Instagram that she stood in solidarity with Voigt.

“Silencing women is not the definition of pageantry,” Lemus wrote in the post’s caption.

“Silencing women is not the definition of pageantry.”

Adrianna Lemus via Instagram

With three departures in the last week, audiences are speculating about behind-the-scenes activity at Miss USA. On Friday, The New York Times received an internal resignation letter from Voigt to Miss USA leadership. The eight-page letter reveals a different side of the organization and Voigt’s involvement with the pageant.

In the letter, Voigt wrote about “a toxic work environment within the Miss USA Organization that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment.” She also recalled a sexual harassment incident and said organization leadership allegedly failed to help her.

Commenters on Voigt’s resignation post pointed out a hidden message. The first letter of the first 11 sentences in Voigt’s statement spell “I AM SILENCED.” Some have interpreted that Voigt cannot speak honestly about her experience with Miss USA.

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In an interview with News Nation, Editor-In-Chief, Nekia Nichelle pointed out that pageant contestants sign a non-disclosure agreement, which prevents the women from speaking openly about their interactions within the organization.

When Srivastava, who was crowned Miss Teen USA in September, announced her resignation, she noted that she did not agree with the values of Miss USA.

“After careful consideration, I have decided to resign as I find that my personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization,” Srivastava said.

Srivastava’s runner-up, Stephanie Skinner representing New York, has declined the title of Miss Teen USA. Her Instagram announcement cited similar issues with the organization’s values not aligning with her own beliefs.

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