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Resigned Miss USA, Miss Teen USA's mothers speak out on how titleholders were 'ill-treated, abused, bullied'

By AYIE LICSI Published May 15, 2024 2:34 pm

The mothers of resigned Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava allege that their daughters suffered ill-treatment, abuse, and bullying during their time with the Miss USA organization.

Earlier in May, Noelia and UmaSofia both suddenly relinquished their titles. The Miss USA 2023 titleholder said she resigned to prioritize her mental health, while UmaSofia stepped down because her "personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization."

The pageant queens' mothers Barbara Srivastava and Jackeline Voigt sat down with Good Morning America to talk about their daughters' resignation as the two were still bound by confidentiality clauses.

"The job of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare," Barbara told Good Morning America in an interview. 

"We could not continue this charade. The girls decided to step down and give [up] their dream of a lifetime—a crown, a national title. Why would two girls decide to give that up?"

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A post shared by Noelia Voigt (@noeliavoigt)

As some eagle-eyed social media users noticed, the first letters in Noelia's public resignation post spelled out "I am silenced."

Noelia's mom Jackeline said that she believes her daughter is being silenced because of the non-disclosure agreement with the pageant organizer.

"She is [silenced] and she would be for the rest of her life if this NDA is not [lifted]," she said.

A letter from Noelia, obtained by news sites like NBC News, detailed the "toxic work environment" the beauty queen experienced with Miss USA and the alleged sexual harassment she experienced during her reign.

Barbara also accused the Miss USA management of bullying as her daughter allegedly had her social media page surveilled.

"They were ill-treated, abused, bullied, and cornered," the mother said.

A new queen and a vacant crown

After Noelia stepped down, the Miss USA organization crowned Miss Hawaii Savannah Gankiewicz Miss USA 2023.

On the resignation, the pageant organizer said, "We respect and support Noelia's 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."

Meanwhile, Miss Teen USA has still yet to fill the post UmaSofia left and also wrote a similar statement as Miss USA about the 17-year-old stepping down.

Miss Teen USA first runner-up Stephanie Skinner declined the crown in light of recent events.

"Although I do not know exactly what Noelia and Uma went through [that] led them to resign, I am sending them immense love and support... Yes, I would be grateful for this platform to be a national representation for young women across the country, but I believe this is the right decision to make," she wrote in an Instagram post.