Sudden Resignations. A Leaked Letter. What’s Happening Inside Miss USA?

When the reigning Miss USA, Noelia Voigt, announced this week she would be resigning from her position, she cited her mental health and wrote about her gratitude for the opportunity.

“As individuals, we grow through experiencing different things in life that lead us to learning more about ourselves,” she wrote on Instagram on Monday.

But an internal resignation letter by Ms. Voigt to Miss USA leadership and the Miss Universe Organization, obtained on Friday by The New York Times, presented a much darker picture.

In the eight-page letter, Ms. Voigt, who represented the state of Utah and was crowned in September, described “a toxic work environment within the Miss USA Organization that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment.” She also complained in her letter that the organization had delayed making good on her prize winnings.

The Miss USA Organization did not respond to request for comment.

Ms. Voigt’s departure has spurred at least two other resignations. UmaSofia Srivastava, Miss Teen USA, announced she was stepping down from her role on Wednesday. Arianna Lemus, who represented Colorado at Miss USA in 2023, said on Friday she was resigning in solidarity after seeing Ms. Voigt’s post.

“That was a call to help,” Ms. Lemus, 27, said in an interview.

The sudden departures have touched off wider speculation in the pageant world that crowned winners are legally barred from speaking freely about their experiences with the Miss USA Organization. Many of Ms. Voigt’s past competitors, including Ms. Lemus, shared a statement demanding that she be released from any nondisclosure agreements.

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