After Miss USA, Miss Teen USA Step Down, Moms Speak Up

Beauty queens are still bound by confidentiality agreements after abrupt resignations
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2024 12:30 AM CDT
Moms of Former Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Speak Up
FILE - Miss USA Noelia Voigt competes in the national costume competition at the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in San Salvador, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.   (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

After the abrupt resignation of Miss USA 2023, followed quickly thereafter by the resignation of Miss Teen USA 2023, the moms of both are speaking out on behalf of their daughters, who are bound contractually by confidentiality clauses. Current title holders from the 50 other state pageants expressed support for Noelia Voigt and UmaSofia Srivastava, calling for Voigt to be released from any non-disclosure agreement in her contract so she could speak freely, but it's not clear what their next step will be now that the deadline they gave has passed without Voigt being released from her NDA. Even so, just from what she wrote in her scathing resignation letter, one state title holder says she is leaning toward calling for the resignation of Miss USA's president. More:

  • The moms: Jackeline Voigt and Barbara Srivastava spoke to ABC News, describing what they called a "nightmare" experience and a toxic work environment. They also allege parent organization Miss Universe has not stepped in to make anything right, or even apologize. "I want to be clear, it's not about what they didn't get, about the prizes. It's about how they were ill-treated, abused, bullied, and cornered," Srivastava says. Full interview here.

  • How did we get here? The Daily Beast has an extensive piece explaining, in its words, how the pageant "ended up such a hot mess." It starts with Laylah Rose, the Miss USA organization's president, buying Miss USA from the Miss Universe organization last year after a number of scandals led to the resignation of Miss USA's former president in 2022. What followed, per the outlet's sources, were months of mismanagement so extreme that some state directors were forced to cancel their pageants; there were also allegations of bullying and aggression from Rose. Full piece here.
  • New Miss USA: Miss Hawaii, the runner-up to Voigt in last year's pageant, has now been crowned Miss USA, the New York Post reports. Savannah Gankiewicz says on Instagram that she did not make the decision lightly, and that she admires Voigt prioritizing her mental health.
  • New Miss Teen USA? The runner-up to Srivastava, however, declined to accept the Miss Teen USA crown after Srivastava stepped down, People reports. Stephanie Skinner, 19, says that "although this title was a dream of mine, I believe one thing I will never give up is my character." It's not clear what the Miss USA organization's next step will be.
  • Miss Colorado steps down: Arianna Lemus resigned her state title in solidarity with Voigt and Srivastava, Yahoo News reports.
(More Miss USA stories.)

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