Utah’s Noelia Voigt crowned Miss USA 2023
Nov 10, 2023, 4:22 PM
(CNN) — Noelia Voigt of Utah was crowned the new Miss USA in Reno, Nevada, at the culmination of the 2023 pageant at the Grand Sierra Resort on Friday night, broadcast live on the CW Network. Savannah Gankiewicz of Hawaii placed as the first runner up.
Voigt, 23, beat out 50 other titleholders at the pageant. At the start of the television competition, the field was narrowed to 20 finalists, and cut further to just five — Voigt, Gankiewicz, Jasmine Daniels of Pennsylvania, Lluvia Alzate of Texas, and Alexis Loomans of Wisconsin — after the requisite swimwear and evening gown rounds.
Asked what she would contribute to the Miss Universe Organization as a “brand ambassador” and Miss USA in the final Q&A round, Voigt touted being a “bilingual Venezuelan-American,” and promised she would connect with diverse communities across the United States.
Judges included Vivica A. Fox, former “Real Housewife” Luann de Lesseps and beauty vlogger Patrick Starrr.
The pageant aimed to offer “a modern and progressive approach to a 70-year-old tradition,” said President and CEO of the Miss USA Organization Laylah Rose in a statement released in early September. Following a recent rule change implemented by the Miss Universe Organization, this year’s Miss USA featured the first married state titleholder — Juliana Morehouse-Locklear of Maine. (Morehouse-Locklear, the daughter of a contestant in the 1994 Miss USA pageant, did not advance to the top 20.)
Voigt succeeds the 2022 Miss USA, Morgan Romano of North Carolina. Romano herself took over the title from R’Bonney Gabriel, of Texas, who was crowned the 2022 Miss Universe in January.
Gabriel’s win at the 2022 Miss USA pageant was marred by claims made by some of her fellow contestants that the pageant had been “rigged” in her favor.
In the weeks after her crowning in October 2022, Miss USA’s parent company, the Miss Universe Organization, opened an investigation and suspended then-Miss USA national director Crystle Stewart — winner of the 2008 Miss USA pageant — and her company, Miss Brands.
Gabriel, Stewart, and other officials all refuted the allegations. “There was no unfair advantage and nothing was rigged,” Gabriel told E! News at the time, while Stewart said in a statement, “The last thing I would ever want to do is discredit or deny the contestants an equal opportunity to a fair competition. I would never jeopardize my dream of running an organization that empowers these young women.”
In August, the pageant announced the end of its partnership with Stewart. In a statement confirming that a “thorough and extensive investigation” of accusations leveled against the pageant found them to be false, Miss USA said that, “after much discussion and consideration, (the Miss Universe Organization) and Crystle were unable to reach an agreement as to Crystle and Miss Brand’s continuing involvement… Crystle has decided to leverage the success she has had with the Miss USA Organization to pursue other entrepreneurial passions.”
On Thursday night, also at the Grand Sierra Resort, 16-year-old UmaSofia Srivastava, of New Jersey, was crowned Miss Teen USA. Stephanie Skinner, 19, of New York, placed as the first runner up.
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