LOCAL NEWS

Utah’s Miss USA resigns, fueling online speculation of ‘bullying’ within the brand

May 7, 2024, 1:10 PM | Updated: May 8, 2024, 4:23 pm

Miss United States Noelia Voigt poses during the The 72nd Miss Universe Competition press junket at...

Miss United States Noelia Voigt poses during the The 72nd Miss Universe Competition press junket at Gimnasio Nacional Jose Adolfo Pineda on November 17, 2023 in San Salvador, El Salvador. Voigt announced her resignation from her winning title of Miss USA on May 6, 2024. (Hector Vivas, Getty Images)

(Hector Vivas, Getty Images)

UPDATE: Since the publication of this article, Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia Srivastava, also announced her resignation Wednesday on social media.


SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s crowned Miss USA Noelia Voigt, stated Monday that she would resign from her role, renouncing her crown, citing the reason as mental health. But onlookers were speculating about a much larger problem Tuesday that could involve others.

“I realize this may come as a large shock to many,” Voigt’s caption read, to a statement she made on Instagram. “Never compromise your physical and mental well-being. Our health is our wealth.”

The Sept. 2023 winner made the statement on Instagram announcing her decision, which she said was made after seven years of working toward the Miss USA crown. Social media users then began to speculate about a potential message hidden in her announcement.

A popular TikToker and a multitude of comments suggested that the first letter of each sentence in the substantial paragraph read “I am silenced,” when singled out. Most comments didn’t address the last three sentences which add “HIP” to the sentiment, if it is one.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Noelia Voigt (@noeliavoigt)

Voigt had not confirmed whether the message was intentional, or responded to KSL TV’s requests for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

Another resignation

Another matter fueling the theories is the fact that Voigt’s resignation came just two days after another resignation by Miss USA’s social media director, Claudia Michelle.

Michelle noted in her Instagram announcement, after describing a difficult string of events during her onboarding, that she had not “signed any contracts or NDAs,” and felt in the position to speak.

“While having the privilege of getting to work with Noelia closely and have unfortunately seen a decline in her mental health since we first met,” she stated. ” I feel like her ability to share her story and her platform have been diminished.”

Michelle also detailed the brand’s decision, for reasons “undisclosed,” to remove multiple assistant directors. Michelle said those directors were “nothing short of amazing in helping these titleholders succeed.”

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

Voigt addressed bullying just once in her statement, but not directly pinning the word on anyone inside the Miss USA brand.

“Every time someone asked me what my favorite part of being Miss USA was, I would always share with them how much I loved getting to work with Smile Train, being a fervent advocate for anti-bullying, dating violence awareness and prevention, immigration rights and reform, and shedding light on my roots as the first Venezuelan-American woman to win Miss USA,” she wrote.

Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia Srivastava, is pictured with both Michelle and Voigt in Michelle’s post. She offered supportive comments responding to the announcements but had not released any response of her own Tuesday.

Miss Utah USA Noelia Voigt is crowned as Miss USA 2023.

Miss Utah USA Noelia Voigt is crowned as Miss USA 2023. (Chelsea Lauren, Shutterstock)

Miss USA’s response

Miss USA responded hours after Voigt’s announcement, stating the brand supported her decision.

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

It continued by saying a new pageant participant will be crowned, and that it was “reviewing plans for the transition of responsibilities.”

In response to the statement, commentators raised many concerns about the treatment of titleholders. One comment said Miss USA’s Facebook account blocked them after they defended Voigt in comments, and expressed their newfound distaste for the brand after admiring it for years.

Miss USA has not responded to KSL TV’s request for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

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Utah’s Miss USA resigns, fueling online speculation of ‘bullying’ within the brand