Moms of Resigned Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Break Silence on 'Abuse' in Pageant System: 'Nightmare'

Former Miss Teen USA 2023, UmaSofia Srivastava and Former Miss USA 2023, Noelia Voigt

Just days after former Miss USA Noelia Voigt 2023 and former Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava 2023 resigned from their positions, the young women's mothers are speaking out about the toxic environment they both endured.

During a chat with Good Morning AmericaJackeline Voigt and Barbara Srivastava provided insight into some of the reasoning behind their daughters' shocking step-downs, taking the opportunity to call for changes within the Miss USA pageant system.

“I want to make [it] clear, it’s not about what they can get, the prizes… it’s about how they were ill-treated, abused, bullied and cornered,” Barbara claimed. "The job of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare."

After being crowned with the title in Sept. 2023, UmaSofia announced her resignation just two days after Noelia, taking to Instagram to express that her "personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization," on Wednesday, May 8.

This major move, according to her mom, is due to the treatment she faced, which included being bullied by Miss Teen USA management, and having missed out on opportunities as a result. Barbara further alleged that UmaSofia's social media account had been put under surveillance and controlled by management.

Related: Miss Teen USA Quits 2 Days After Miss USA Announced Resignation

As for Noelia, who led the way by resigning to prioritize her "physical and mental well-being," her mom Jackeline noticed something seemed awry after an interaction with her daughter following an incident during a Christmas parade.

“I saw Noelia so stressed out, and I said, ‘What happened?,’“ Jackeline recalled, as she explained her daughter had an "very, very uncomfortable" encounter with a man who asked her, "Are you into old [men] with money?"

In her lengthy note of resignation shared via Instagram, the pageant winner seemingly hinted at the situation, writing, “I was made to feel unsafe at events without an effective handler, and this culminated in being sexually harassed…”

According to Jackeline, Miss USA CEO and President Laylah Rose’s response to the ordeal at the time was that the organization was unable to prevent people from saying things to the titleholder during public appearances.

“[Not] even, ‘I’m sorry that you went through that?'“ Jackeline lamented on GMA. “[Noelia] was so upset. This is not what she worked so hard for.”

The two mothers are hoping that Rose will step down as president and that the Miss USA pageant will “come out and speak to us [and] apologize, or clean this mess.” They also claimed that their daughters signed nondisclosure agreements and legally, cannot speak on what they experienced.

On the organization's website, a statement announcing the newly-appointed Miss USA 2023 following the resignation reads: “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.”

But the moms—who've also urged prospective Miss USA contestants and their parents to reconsider their participation in pageants—have a message that's clear: “We just don’t want these families and these girls to go through what we went through.”

Next: Meet the New Miss USA 2023 and the 50 Beauties Who Make Up Her Court