Noelia Voigt: What You Don't Know About The Miss USA Who Stepped Down

Noelia Voigt made history by becoming the first Venezuelan-American to win the coveted title of Miss USA. She made history again when she became the first Miss USA to resign from the job. The 24-year-old beauty, who has been competing in pageants since she was a teen, turned in her crown after a mere seven months, citing "mental health" reasons. In a statement shared via Instagram, she explains, "In life, I strongly value the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health." In her comments, Voigt acknowledged that the news might be "a large shock" but advised her followers to "never compromise your physical and mental well-being," adding, "Our health is our wealth." 

Voigt's resignation might have been unexpected to the public, but to those behind the scenes, some say it wasn't a huge surprise. One insider told The New York Post that there was a "toxic atmosphere" within the controversial Miss USA industry, a sentiment echoed by the organization's former social media director, Claudia Michelle, who stepped down from her role just days before Voigt. In a statement she posted to Instagram, Michelle said that she saw firsthand how the organization's treatment of Voigt took a toll on her mental health. "I disavow workplace toxicity and bullying of any kind," she shared. 

As for Voigt, she appears to be looking ahead and seeking new opportunities to empower and inspire other young women to be bold and brave in their choices, and their lives. 

Noelia Voigt's childhood dream was to compete in beauty pageants but her mom made her wait

Lots of little kids enjoy playing dress up and fantasizing about living glamorous lives, but for young Noelia Voigt, it was much more than that. From a young age, the adorable little girl born in Sarasota, Florida, had big dreams of competing in beauty pageants. She has fond memories of watching pageants with her Venezuelan mother, who loved them just as much as she did. But just because her mother turned her on to the world of pageants doesn't mean she was a stage mom. On the contrary, Voigt says her mother would not allow her to compete until she was a teenager. In an interview with Business Insider, the former Miss USA explains that her mom was concerned about the potential pitfalls that can come from competing too young. Specifically, the damage it can do to a young girl's self-esteem if she doesn't win the crown. 

"My mom didn't want that for me," she added. "So she waited until I was old enough to understand that, if I didn't win, it's not a reflection of me or who I am."

Her mother needn't have worried. At the age of 16, Voigt entered and won her first local competition. That win was the first step on a long journey down the path that ultimately led to her win and subsequent resignation of one of the most sought-after titles in the world, Miss USA. 

After winning her first pageant Noelia Voigt was bullied by her peers

"Mean Girls" isn't just a movie. It is a harsh reality for many young women, and former Miss USA Noelia Voigt was no exception. From the moment she won her first pageant at the age of 16, the beautiful teen found herself on the receiving end of bullying from not only her peers but her former best friend, who was suddenly behaving like the Regina George of the group. In an interview with Business Insider, Voigt recalls how the situation affected her.  "I was really hurt and confused as to why people I thought were my friends were making fun of me for doing something that I was really excited about and that I was doing good things with," she said.

Although hurt by the rude comments and ridicule she received, Voigt refused to let it steal her joy. Instead, she turned it into a pageant platform, advocating for anti-bullying and speaking out on the harm that bullying can cause. Not only was her work helping others, it was helping her heal from the wounds inflicted by her friends. Voigt became actively involved with One Love, a non-profit dedicated to helping people identify and get out of abusive or toxic relationships, and began to realize that the drama that surrounded her was not of her own making. As she told Business Insider, "It became very eye-opening to me that the issue was not me, the issue was them." 

Pageants helped Noelia Voigt find the strength to leave an abusive relationship and find love

Toxic friendships weren't the only thing causing chaos in Noelia Voigt's teen years. Although the details are scarce, she was reportedly in an abusive relationship. While it isn't clearly defined, the implication is that it was a romantic relationship that was causing her mental and emotional distress. What is clear, however, is that she credits the pageant community for giving her the strength to remove herself from the situation. In an another interview with Business Insider, she said, "Pageants absolutely helped me realize my worth, and that I deserve respect from myself and also people around me." Voigt has used her voice as a pageant winner to educate others on how to get out of abusive relationships. She has spent countless hours traveling and speaking to students across the country on how to identify the warning signs of dating violence in the hopes of helping others avoid what she experienced.  

If her Instagram account is any indication, it seems that Voigt used the knowledge she's gained to forge a happy, healthy relationship with her boyfriend, Jack Henry Hendrix, who has factored heavily in her feed since 2018. She regularly refers to the handsome hunk as "my sweet," along with "best boyfriend" and "bodyguard," and is quick to shout out his accomplishments, including his recent graduation from the University of Alabama with a Construction Engineering degree. The photogenic pair appears to be a match made in heaven. 

Her journey to Miss USA took Noelia Voigt seven years and three close calls

If at first you don't succeed, then try, try, and try again. That was the case for Noelia Voigt, who spent seven years on a quest for the ultimate title of Miss USA, narrowly missing the national stage on three different occasions as first runner-up. Those close calls might have discouraged another pageant girl, but not Voigt who, with every "almost won," dug her stilettos in and worked even harder to achieve her dreams of the national title, telling Business Insider that "it was more fuel to the fire for me to keep going." 

"A lot of people ask me if it hurt that I kept getting first runner-up, and I just told them the honest truth — that I was really proud of myself for getting that placement," she said to the outlet. "I always felt very honored that the judges still felt I could do the job if something happened and I needed to step in."

Voigt also found validation in continuing the work that she was doing within her community in conjunction with her platforms, including anti-bullying, dating violence awareness and prevention, and immigration rights and reform to name a few. "I'm honestly very glad that it took as many years as it did, because it gave me the chance to really grow and expand the seeds I had planted in the very beginning — and see them really grow and flourish," she said. 

Although she represented Utah, Noelia Voigt is originally from Florida

She may have won Miss USA representing Utah, but Noelia Voigt is a native of the Sunshine State. Her beauty and strength are a combination of her Venezuelan mother, Jackeline Coromoto Briceño, and her American father, former professional baseball player Jack David Voigt. Born and raised in Sarasota, Noelia's pageant career took off when she landed the titles of Miss Sarasota Teen in 2015, and Miss Florida Teen in 2018. 

The road from Florida to the Miss USA stage took her through Alabama, where she attended the University of Alabama and placed first runner-up in both the 2022 and 2023 Miss Alabama USA pageants. She moved to Utah later that year, representing the state at the 2023 Miss USA pageant and becoming the first Miss Utah to take the crown in 50 years. After going through so much to get to the national stage, the decision to relinquish the title was not an easy one for Voigt, who said in her statement that she made "lifelong friendships and connections" throughout her years as a competitor and that despite the outcome, she is eternally grateful for the experience. 

"Constant and consistent hard work and dedication all lead me to where I am today," she wrote. "I hope that over the last seven years of competing in pageantry and sharing my journey with you all is something that inspires you to never give up on your dreams, whatever they may be." 

More than just a pretty face, Noelia Voigt is an entrepreneur

Noelia Voigt makes the world a more beautiful place in more ways than one. Besides being a former Miss USA, the brunette bombshell is the co-founder of the Iron City Lash Bar in Birmingham, Alabama, a business she established after graduating as the valedictorian of her class at The Aveda Institute in Birmingham. As the head esthetician, she not only took pride in keeping Birmingham women looking their best, but according to her Linkedin profile, Voigt also had a role in the design and decor of the shop. From esthetics to aesthetics, Voigt took her eye for design to RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) where she currently serves as an Interior Design Consultant. 

With not one but two careers to fall back on, we can't help but wonder if Voigt will continue to pursue her creative passions. What we do know is that whatever her next move is, she seems to have plenty of public support. She recently told People that the positive responses to her resignation have been "overwhelming," and that she's been praised for bringing more awareness to mental health advocacy.

"The fact that I've been able to kind of shed a light on that and be someone that people can look up to in that sense — and let people know that if something isn't good for you, it's okay to step away from it. I'm grateful to be that beacon of light for people," says Voigt.

Noelia Voigt takes her anti-bullying message to a children's book

By being the first person to resign from the role of Miss USA, Noelia Voigt is writing her own story of what it means to advocate for yourself in the face of adversity. However, it's not the first time she's told that story. In 2021, while a sophomore at the University of Alabama, the former Miss USA penned the children's book, "Maddie the BRAVE," a story with an anti-bullying message. Voigt, who was bullied by her friends when she started winning pageants, is passionate about spreading the message of how bullying can hurt, and even destroy lives. "The book teaches you how to build yourself a bully-proof vest," she said in an interview with the UA News Center

The book, which uses the acronym BRAVE to encourage "Building Respect And Values for Everyone," aims to teach children the power of positive affirmations, inspire confidence, and encourage kindness. It was inspired by the story of 9-year-old Madison "Maddie" Whittsett, a Birmingham resident, who died by suicide after being bullied, and a portion of the book's proceeds go to The Maddie Foundation. Voigt also helped develop a "Bullying Buddy" app with safety features and automatic recording technology to help a child who is being bullied or is in danger. "I just really hope to reach as many young kids as possible to promote BRAVE and Bullying Buddy because maybe it will help to start breaking the cycle of bullying," Voigt said. 

Bullying was part of what led to Noelia Voigt's resignation

As Miss USA, one of Noelia Voigt's most prominent platforms was anti-bullying, yet part of the reason for her resignation was due to the fact that she was once again being bullied by the very people who should have had her back.  Although her public statement focused on her struggle with mental health issues, Voigt's actual resignation letter, per NBC News, was much more specific. In it, she called out the Miss USA CEO and President, Laylah Rose, for her behavior and lack of support during an alleged sexual harassment issue. "There is a toxic work environment within the Miss USA organization that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment," Voigt states in the letter, adding that she developed anxiety due to the stress of Rose's constant torment which Voigt claims included making derogatory comments about her to industry insiders. 

Voigt claims that the "toxic work environment" created by Rose led her to develop anxiety for which she must now take medication and that she has suffered from "heart palpitations, full body shakes, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, loss of sleep, loss of hair, and more." She is not alone. Her resignation came on the heels of the organization's social media director, Claudia Michelle, and was followed by the resignation of Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia Srivastava, who said in her statement that she and the organization have different values. 

Noelia Voigt might have left a big clue in her public statement

Such different messages in her private resignation letter and her public statement have led some to speculate as to whether there is more going on with Noelia Voigt's situation than meets the eye. Some hyper-vigilant fans claim that the answer lies in her statement where the first letter of each sentence spells out the ominous message, "I am silenced."  If this is true, it most likely refers to an NDA that Voigt signed, which prevents her from disclosing details of her reign as Miss USA. In support of her resignation, her fellow contestants have issued a statement asking that the organization release Voigt from the agreement. With a goal to "give Noelia her voice back," her fellow contestants issued a statement requesting that Voigt be free to share her story and what she experienced as Miss USA. 

Whether or not the organization complies remains to be seen, but even if they acquiesce, we may never know the whole story. An industry insider told The New York Post that both Voigt, and Miss Teen USA UmaSophia Srivastava who also resigned, may choose to remain silent out of fear of retribution, saying, "They are afraid of speaking out more at this time because of the organization. They don't want this to have any lasting harmful effect on their futures."