Miss USA scandal: Indian origin Miss Teen resigns amid toxic culture, financial trouble, mistreatment claims

The world of pageantry was rocked by a double resignation this week! In a surprising turn of events, both the reigning Miss USA and Miss Teen USA have tendered their resignations amid the brewing scandal within the Miss USA Organization.

UmaSofia Srivastava was crowned as Miss Teen USA in 2023. (Instagram/@umasofias)

The abrupt departures have raised eyebrows and questions within the pageant community and beyond. Miss USA Noelia Voigt and Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava in a daring move have dropped their crowns. What exactly is going on behind the glittering facade of the competition?

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Miss USA & Miss Teen USA resign amid Miss USA scandal

For the first time in Miss USA’s 72-year history (established in 1952), no reigning titleholder has ever relinquished their crown. Now, both Miss USA, Noelia Voigt, and Miss Teen USAUmaSofia Srivastava, have shockingly resigned mid-reign. Citing mental health concerns as a priority, Voigt stepped down three months before her reign was due to end. She announced her decision to relinquish the crown and sash of Miss USA.

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In September 2024, Voight won the title of Miss USA at the age of 24 and also became the first Miss USA titleholder in 72 years to resign voluntarily. Voight commended Miss Teen USA Sofia, for taking a stand for what’s right. “Deep down I know that this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me, 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,” she wrote praising her darling.

Also read: Who is UmaSofia Srivastava? 10 points about Indian-origin Miss Teen USA who resigned from her post

As the first Mexican-Indian American to represent New Jersey at the national level, Srivastava was crowned Miss Teen USA when she was 17 years old.

The Miss USA scandal explained, why are the girls stepping down

The sudden resignations by two reigning titleholders have once again stirred up the controversy surrounding the pageant. The Miss USA organization is receiving backlash and flak for mismanagement, a toxic work culture, and alleged mistreatment of mental health concerns. The mismanagement allegedly started back in 2023 when the organisation owner JKN Group filed for bankruptcy leading to its president’s termination. Soon after the person who replaced her also resigned in February raising several eyebrows.

Laylah Rose, the current CEO and Miss USA President was announced as the replacement on the same date. In 2015, NBCUniversal severed ties with the pageants after Donald Trump, then owner of Miss Universe, made controversial comments accusing Mexico of sending criminals and rapists into the U.S.

Citing, “My personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.” UmaSofia Srivastava took to her social media to announce to her resignation.

Dani Walker explains the Miss USA struggles

Ex-Miss Montana and YouTube commentator Dani Walker brought attention to the struggles and unethical practices within the industry in the face of competition from social media influencers, reality shows, and Hollywood celebrities.

Claudia Michelle on financial troubles

It appears that the Miss USA chaos has something to do with money. Former social media manager Claudia Michelle said that she was not paid for two months, and was told after she was hired that the organization did not have money to pay. “I wasn’t really an employee. There was no contract signed, there was no onboarding, there was no salary and benefits,” the ex-employee said. “It’s a testament to how much I love this brand, I was willing to take this on pro bono.”

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