Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, First Mexican-Indian American to Win, Resigns

Miss Teen USA has resigned her title, just two days after Venezuelan American Miss USA Noelia Voigt also stepped down

UmaSofia Srivastava

Photo: Instagram/@umasofias

Beauty pageants in the United States aren’t known to be the most inclusive though recently two Latinas made history and now both have decided to resign. Last year, UmaSofia Srivastava became the first Indian-Mexican contestant to be crowned Miss Teen USA, as well as the second consecutive titleholder of Indian descent. This week, she abruptly announced her resignation from her title because her “personal values no longer align with the direction of the organization,” according to her Instagram post. The move comes just two days after Miss USA Noelia Voigt, who was the first Venezuelan American winner, also gave up her title, citing personal and mental health issues. The Miss USA organization has supported both winners’ decisions but the consecutive resignations have raised questions from fans about what was going on behind the scenes, ABC News reported.

“After months of grappling with this decision, I have made the choice to resign from the title of Miss Teen USA 2023. I am grateful for all the support from my family, my state directors, my sister queens, and the fans who have cheered me on since I won my state title. I will always look back on my time as Miss NJ Teen USA fondly, and the experience of representing my state as a first generation, Mexican-Indian American at the national level was fulfilling in itself,” Srivastava wrote on Instagram. “At the end of the day, I am so lucky to have had the privilege of this experience, but if this is just a chapter, I know that the story of my life will truly be incredible.”

Srivastava won her first beauty pageant in 2023, earning the title of Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2023. In September, she represented her home state at the national Miss Teen USA competition and was crowned the overall winner, becoming the first teen of Indian and Mexican descent to do so. Besides being a pageant contestant, she is the author and illustrator of her own multilingual children’s book The White Jaguar.

As Miss USA, Voight made history as the first Venezuelan American winner. She has also authored a children’s book titled Maddie the BRAVE, which advocates for anti-bullying. She put her own mental health first as evidenced in the caption of her Instagram statement: “Never compromise your physical and mental well-being. Our health is our wealth.”

Along with Voight and Srivastava relinquishing their titles, Miss USA’s social media director Claudia Michelle stepped down from her role in the organization last week and released a statement on Instagram that shed more light on the winners’ decisions. Besides the poor financial compensation and lack of social media assistance that she was subjected to, Michelle stated that she personally saw the decline in Voight’s mental health and disrespect and lack of attention toward Srivastava and her family. She also shared that she felt they were not given the opportunity to advocate for themselves and has condemned the “workplace toxicity and bullying” she witnessed. Voight and Srivastava, meanwhile, have yet to comment on the specifics of why they left but it has led to calls for more transparency from the organization.

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