Miss USA, Miss Teen USA resign days apart. What’s going on?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

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Days after Miss USA Noelia Voigt resigned from her title to focus on mental health, Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava also prematurely stepped down from the organization – citing a difference in values with the parent organization.

Both beauty queens’ resignations followed another departure by the former Miss USA social media director, who spoke out last week about alleged “workplace toxicity and bullying.”

Voigt, a 24-year-old from Utah who was crowned Miss USA in September, shared on Monday that she would be stepping down from the position. Two days later, Srivastava, 17, also shared a post online in which she admitted that she had been grappling with a similar decision for months.

“After careful consideration, I’ve decided to resign as I find that my personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization,” she wrote on Instagram

“However, I will continue my relentless advocacy for education and acceptance, with my multi-lingual children’s book The White Jaguar and with the organizations that I have had the privilege to work with long before I started competing, namely The Lotus Petal Foundation and the Bridge of Books Foundation.”

She continued, “I look forward to the rest of the year as I finish 11th grade as part of the National Honor Society and start the college application process, knowing that my academic career has been defined by my hard work, and my hard work alone.”

Srivastava, the former Miss NJ Teen USA, finished her post by saying, “thank you to those who support me for who I am and have always been, not for who I’ve momentarily become.”

In Voigt’s lengthy Instagram post, crafted similarly, she also thanked fans for their love and support.

“In life, I strongly value the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health,” Voigt wrote. “As individuals, we grow through experiencing different things in life that lead us to learning more about ourselves. My journey as Miss USA has been incredibly meaningful, representing Utah with pride, and later the USA at Miss Universe.

“Sadly, I have made the very tough decision to resign from the title of Miss USA 2023,” the post continued.

After Voigt announced her resignation, the Miss USA Organization offered “respect and support” to her and the decision to step down from her duties. 

“The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritize herself at this time,” the organization said in a statement to FOX News Digital.

“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.”

In addition, both the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Instagram accounts shared similar acknowledgements of the resignations and wished them the best. 

Those who win the Miss USA pageant receive a generous prize package – which includes a six-figure salary for the year, a luxury condo in Los Angeles for a year, a new car, a new wardrobe, and skincare and hair treatments, according to Pageant Planet

During their reign, Miss USA also goes to red carpet events and other networking opportunities, promotes charities that work with the organization, does photoshoots, and can promote their own personal platforms and projects. 

Many left positive comments on both women’s posts, including an account that appeared to belong to Voigt’s mom.

“As your mother, it has been a huge relief to see my Noelia’s personality restored,” the comment reads. “We are extremely proud of you for your selflessness in standing up for what is right while also prioritizing what is best for you. I observed how your personality changed and how your light faded. It broke our hearts. We are so happy today to see you being you again. Welcome home.”

Some claimed Voigt’s statement was coded. 

“I AM SILENCED” – First letter of each sentence. But we hear you! And we will listen,” one person wrote.

Miss USA social media director steps down, alleges ‘toxicity’

Before both Miss USA and Miss Teen USA stepped down this week, the organization’s social media director Claudia Michelle also announced her resignation on May 3 – sharing an official statement in an Instagram post. 

Michelle alleged that she managed all the brand’s social media by herself and claimed that she was not compensated for her first two months of work. She criticized the organization and noted that “having not signed any contracts or NDA’s, I feel as if I am in the position to speak out on what I have witnessed.”

“This is a women’s empowerment organization and my hope in making this statement is to restore some of the empowerment back to these titleholders that was so deeply lost in their year,” Michelle wrote. 

She noted having “seen a decline” in Voigt’s mental health since having first met. “I feel like her ability to share her story and her platform have been diminished,” Michelle claimed. 

“I have firsthand seen the disrespect towards Uma and her family,” she wrote.

She continued: “I feel the way current management speaks about their current titleholders is unprofessional and inappropriate; I disavow workplace toxicity and bullying of any kind.”

Michelle concluded the statement by adding: “The brand IS the titleholders. Without them, there is no Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. I believe their voices and their stories should be heard and not silenced.”

The Miss Universe Organization, which runs Miss USA, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Michelle’s allegations.

Miss USA pageant owner

The Miss USA and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants are both run by the Miss Universe Organization, which also runs the Miss Universe pageant.

In 2022, the Miss Universe Organization was purchased by Thai business tycoon and transgender activist Chakrapong “Anne” Chakrajutathib, who controls JKN Global Group Public Co. Ltd., for $20 million. 

Chakrajutathib is a celebrity in Thailand who has starred in reality shows and is outspoken about being a transgender woman. She helped establish a nonprofit group, Life Inspired For Transsexual Foundation, to promote trans rights.

JKN acquired the rights to the Miss Universe pageant from IMG Worldwide LLC, a sports, talent and events marketing company which bought the Miss Universe Organization in 2015. 

Prior to that, former U.S. President Donald Trump was part owner of the pageant rights from 1996 until IMG’s purchase.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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