Mothers of Resigned Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Speak Out


Miss Teen USA 2023, UmaSofia Srivastava and Miss USA 2023, Noelia Voigt attend Supermodels Unlimited Magazine Presents: Billboards Over Broadway - NYFW Celebrity Event at Nebula Nightclub in New York City, NY on February 10, 2024. Credit - Craig Barritt—Getty Images/Supermodels Unlimited

The mothers of the Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava have divulged the reasons behind their daughters’ surprise subsequent step downs from their titles in early May.

“The job of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare,” Barbara Srivastava, the mother of UmaSofia, said during a Tuesday interview with Good Morning America. “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?”

Their daughters relinquished their roles within days of each other in early May, and have not been able to speak because of confidentiality agreements they signed with Miss USA, the mothers said during the GMA interview.

Barbara said that her daughter was “abused, bullied, and cornered” by the organization. In her resignation statement on social media, UmaSofia Srivastava made it clear that she did not agree with the direction the organization was going in, adding that her personal values did not fully align with them. Barbara told GMA that once her daughter saw that Voigt resigned, she wanted to “stand up with Noelia.”

Voigt also wrote a letter addressed to the leadership at Miss USA and Miss Universe organization, in which she called the organization a “toxic work environment.” In the letter, she also revealed that Miss USA had not provided Voigt with a proper handler, who acts as a manager or scout for women and girls. Jackeline Voigt, Noelia Voigt’s mother, says her daughter felt uncomfortable because of advances made towards her at events. In one instance, Voigt was left alone with a man in a car who sexually harassed her

“This is not what she worked so hard for. The Miss Universe organization needs to come out and speak to us, or apologize, or clean this mess,” Noelia told GMA.

The two mothers advised other contestants to not run for any Miss USA title because of the alleged work culture. “Look at what happened to Noelia and UmaSofia. Right now, it’s not the right time to participate,” Jackeline said. “We just don’t want these families and these girls to go through what we’re going through.”

In a press release on May 10, the Miss USA organization announced the new Miss USA titleholder, Savannah Gankiewicz, and wrote: “We are committed to fostering a healthy, communicative and supportive environment for all contestants, state titleholders, national titleholders and staff involved with the Miss USA organization, it’s our mission. We ask for community, empathy and kindness to be restored.”

The CW Network, which airs the Miss USA pageant, said that it is “evaluating its relationship” with both of the pageants. The network had just signed onto an "exclusive multi-year broadcast partnership" with Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.

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