Why are beauty queens giving up their jobs? The Miss USA scandal, in brief
Why are beauty queens giving up their jobs? The Miss USA scandal, in brief

In the last week, three women who won titles in the Miss USA organization last year have given up their names.

The 24-year-old former Miss USA 2023, Noelia Voigt, quit on Instagram on May 6 and said she was going to focus on her mental health. Soon after, 17-year-old Uma Sofia Srivastava, who was Miss USA Teen 2023, and 26-year-old Arianna Lemus, who was Miss Colorado USA 2023, both quit.

Miss Universe owns both Miss USA and Miss USA Teen. Similar messages were sent by the organization after Voight and Srivastava quit. They thanked them for their “service” and said that they “respect and support” the pageant queen’s choice. The group didn’t say anything about Lemus’s decision to quit.

Savannah Gankiewicz, who was crowned Miss Hawaii USA and first runner-up in the 2023 Miss USA pageant, replaced Voigt, but she said she supports the original winner. Stephanie Skinner, who was runner-up for Miss USA Teen 2023 and past Miss Teen New York, said to People that she turned down the title because she didn’t want to “give up (her) character.”

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Why are the winners of Miss USA giving up their titles?

Voigt was the winner of Miss Utah 2023 and then Miss USA in September 2023. She was the first Venezuelan-American to win the contest.

Voight said on Instagram on May 6 that she was quitting, “I know this may come as a big surprise to many.” Don’t put your mental and physical health at risk.

“I strongly believe that in life, it’s important to make choices that are good for your mental health,” she said. “As people, we grow by going through different experiences that teach us more about who we are.” My time as Miss USA has been very important to me. I was proud to serve Utah and then the USA at Miss Universe. Sadly, I have had to make the very hard choice to give up my title as Miss USA 2023.

Fans pointed out that “I am silenced” was written in the first letter of each sentence in Voigt’s open letter.

In a resignation letter obtained by NBC News on May 9, Voigt said that CEO and President Laylah Rose of the Miss USA group did not take a case of sexual harassment seriously and made the workplace unsafe.

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There is a bad work environment in the Miss USA group, with bad management at best and bullying and harassment at worst, Voigt, 24, wrote in the letter. “This started not long after she won Miss USA 2023.”

NBC News says that in the letter, Voigt said that Rose never communicated and that when she did, the CEO was “often cold and unnecessarily aggressive.”

“It’s very upsetting to be trying to do my job while being constantly threatened with disciplinary action, such as losing my job, for things that were never talked about with me and, if it was about a public-facing post, were only causing trouble because they didn’t fit her personal preference,” Voigt wrote.

In the letter, Voigt also talked about an alleged case of sexual harassment at an event in Florida. She said that she was left alone in a car with a man who “made several inappropriate statements to me about his desire to enter into a relationship with the subject.”

According to NBC News, Voigt wrote in the letter that Rose told her, “We cannot prevent people saying things to you at public appearances; it is, unfortunately, part of your role as a public figure.” Rose was told about the situation.

This week, Voigt was told she has an anxiety disease and is having “heart palpitations, full body shakes, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, loss of sleep, loss of hair, and more.”

She pointed out what she thought was a contradiction between the Miss Universe Organization’s public ideals and its real-life operations.

The letter said, “Everything you have ever said about MUO’s morals and honesty is completely at odds with what is going on in the USA organization.”

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Srivastava had been Miss Teen USA 2023. When she quit, she said on Instagram that her “personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.”

As the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “This was certainly not how I saw my reign coming to an end.” is what she wrote.

People asked Voigt on May 9 if she knew Srivastava was also quitting, and she said she didn’t. She called It “surprising.”

She said, “I didn’t know she was going to do that.” She also said that they were “very close” and that Srivastava was a “very, very strong young woman.”

Lemus, who used to be Miss Colorado USA 2023, wrote on Instagram May 10 “As I step down as Miss Colorado USA, I stand with Noelia and UmaSofia, who were both former Miss USA and Miss Teen USA 2023. The restrictions of a contract that hurts Noelia and UmaSofia’s rights and respect have made it hard for them to speak out. These amazing women are a powerful reminder of how badly the Miss USA group needs to change.

She wrote in the post’s caption, “Silence is not the definition of pageantry.”

On May 3, Claudia Michelle, who used to be the social media director for the Miss USA Organization, quit her job. She wrote on Instagram, “I believe Noelia and Uma’s mental health and happiness has taken a toll and I cannot remain silent about them.”

What did the Miss USA Organization say about the people who quit?

In an interview with NBC News on May 8, Rose said, “The health and safety of everyone connected with Miss USA is my first priority.

“As the leader of this organization, my main goal has always been to encourage women to always have new dreams, the courage to explore everything, and to stay true to themselves along the way.” “These claims are serious to me, and I hold myself to the same high standards,” she said.
As soon as Voigt and Srivastava both quit their jobs, the Miss USA group shared almost identical posts on social media.

“Thank you, Noelia, for being Miss USA.” Part of what the group wrote was, “We wish you the best in this next chapter.” “We understand and agree with Noelia’s choice to step down from her duties.” The health and safety of our titleholders is very important to us, and we understand that she needs to put herself first right now.

Another message from the Miss Teen USA group to Srivastava said, “UmaSofia, we wish you the best.” Thanks for being Miss Teen USA. We understand and agree with UmaSofia’s choice to step down from her tasks. We care a lot about the health and safety of our titleholders.

Who is now Miss USA?

In an Instagram post on May 9, Savannah Gankiewicz, who was runner-up in the 2023 Miss USA pageant and former Miss Hawaii USA, said she would be taking over the prized title.

Know this: I didn’t decide to accept the Miss USA crown on the spur of the moment. “I stand with Noelia and admire how strong she is to quit and put her mental health first,” she wrote.

Gankiewicz will be named Miss USA 2023 on May 15, according to the pageant program.

Stephanie Skinner, who won second place in 2023 and is now Miss New York Teen, told People on May 13 that she was offered the title but turned it down.

The 19-year-old told the news outlet, “It was a very hard choice to make.” “I worked so hard and gave up so much to become Miss Teen USA,” she says. “This title was a dream of mine, but I know one thing I will never give up is my character.”

The Wharton student told the New York Post that she was “standing in solidarity and standing up for female empowerment” because she “didn’t feel like it was the right decision given all the circumstances.”

The group hasn’t said who will win the Teen title yet.

This story was first posted on TODAY.com.

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