Noelia Voigt of Utah crowned Miss USA 2023 | World News - Hindustan Times
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Venezuelan-American Noelia Voigt crowned Miss USA 2023 after a scandalous year

ByVedanth Shinde
Sep 30, 2023 10:15 AM IST

Noelia Voigt wins Miss USA 2023, she has become the first Venezuelan-American to win the title

Noelia Voigt, hailing from Utah, has bagged the title of Miss USA during the 2023 pageant's grand finale at Reno, Nevada's Grand Sierra Resort. She is the first Venezuelan-American to win the pageant, which has been rocked by scandal and tumult in the last year. The thrilling event unfolded on a Friday night and was televised live on the CW Network. Savannah Gankiewicz, representing Hawaii, secured the position of first-runner-up.

Sparkling Success: Noelia Voigt Takes Miss USA 2023 Title Amidst Drama (noeliavoigt/Instagram)(Instagram)
Sparkling Success: Noelia Voigt Takes Miss USA 2023 Title Amidst Drama (noeliavoigt/Instagram)(Instagram)

23-year-old Noelia emerged victorious amidst fierce competition from 50 other state titleholders.

These finalists were chosen following the traditional swimwear and evening gown segments of the pageant. In the crucial final Q&A round, Noelia was asked how she would contribute as a brand ambassador for the Miss Universe Organization and Miss USA.

ALSO READ: Miss Universe pageant eliminates age restrictions for the first time in history. All details inside

She emphasized her identity as a "bilingual Venezuelan-American" and pledged to foster connections with diverse communities across the United States.

The panel of judges for this prestigious event included Vivica A. Fox, former Real Housewife Luann de Lesseps, and renowned beauty vlogger Patrick Starrr. The Miss USA Organization, led by President and CEO Laylah Rose, aimed to incorporate a modern and progressive spirit into this 70-year-old tradition.

Notably, this year's Miss USA featured a groundbreaking change. The first married state titleholder was Juliana Morehouse-Locklear of Maine. Noelia Voigt's victory marks her succession to the Miss USA 2022 titleholder, Morgan Romano of North Carolina.

Miss USA rigging controversy

Morgan herself had bagged the title from R'Bonney Gabriel, representing Texas, who was crowned Miss Universe in January 2022. Gabriel's victory in the 2022 Miss USA pageant raised allegations from some of her fellow contestants, who claimed that the competition had been rigged in her favour.

Following these accusations, the Miss Universe Organization, which oversees Miss USA, initiated an investigation and temporarily suspended the then-Miss USA national director, Crystle Stewart, a former winner of the 2008 Miss USA pageant who was also associated with Miss Brands, the company involved in organizing the pageant.

Both Gabriel and Crystle denied the allegations. Gabriel mentioned in an interview with E! News that there had been no unfair advantage or rigging.

Crystle, in a statement, emphasized her commitment to ensuring a fair competition for all contestants and denied any intent to undermine the opportunities of young women.

ALSO READ: First-ever Miss Universe Pakistan winner Erica Robin prepares to participate in global beauty pageant despite backlashes

In August, the pageant officially announced the termination of its partnership with Crystle Stewart. In a statement, the Miss USA Organization confirmed that a comprehensive investigation had found the accusations against the pageant to be unfounded.

However, it was revealed that, despite discussions, the Miss Universe Organization and Crystle Stewart could not reach an agreement regarding her involvement. As a result, Crystle Stewart went on to leverage her success with the Miss USA Organization to pursue other entrepreneurial ventures.

In a separate event held on Thursday night at the Grand Sierra Resort, UmaSofia Srivastava, a 16-year-old from New Jersey, was crowned Miss Teen USA. Stephanie Skinner, aged 19, representing New York, secured the position of first-runner-up.

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