Miss USA Resigns From Title, Citing Mental Health

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Noelia Voigt, who was crowned Miss USA in September, said on Monday that she was stepping down from the role to prioritize her mental health.

Ms. Voigt, who represented Utah in the 2023 pageant in Reno, Nev., said in a statement on Instagram that resigning was “a tough decision.”

“In life, I strongly value the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health,” she said.

Ms. Voigt, who was born in Florida, said that she was the first Venezuelan-American woman to win Miss USA, which started in 1952. As the winner, Ms. Voigt went on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador in November. She placed in the top 20, and for the costume competition, she wore an outfit that featured small models of landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument and the White House.

Her surprise resignation prompted questions among pageant fans, including those who noticed that the first letters of the first 11 sentences in Ms. Voigt’s statement spelled: “I am silenced.” (The first letters of the final three sentences spell “hip.”)

Ms. Voigt and Miss USA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a statement on the Miss USA Instagram account, the organization said it respected and supported Ms. Voigt’s decision to step down.

“The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritize herself at this time,” the statement said of Ms. Voigt. “We are currently reviewing plans for the transition of responsibilities to a successor, and we will soon announce the crowning of the new Miss USA.”

The first runner-up at Miss USA 2023 was Savannah Gankiewicz, Miss Hawaii USA. The three other runners-up were from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Alexis Loomans, Miss Wisconsin USA, posted a photo with Ms. Voigt in an Instagram story and wrote “standing with you and for you.”

Ms. Voigt said in her statement that her favorite parts of being Miss USA included working with Smile Train, a nonprofit that supports people with cleft palates, and campaigning against bullying and in favor of immigrant rights.

“Deep down I know that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me,” she wrote, “and my hope is that I continue to inspire others to remain steadfast, prioritize your mental health, advocate for yourself and others by using your voice, and never be afraid of what the future holds, even if it feels uncertain.”





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