Beauty queen moms say they were allegedly ‘tormented and threatened’ daily with mental abuse

Pageant queens Noelia Voigt and UmaSofia Srivastava, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA respectively, both announced they would be stepping down from their positions earlier this month amid accusations of a toxic workplace environment

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Wednesday 15 May 2024 01:42
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Miss Teen USA Runner-Up Refuses UmaSofia Srivastava's Crown

The mother of the former Miss Teen USA 2023 has alleged her daughter and former Miss USA 2023 were “tormented and threatened” daily by management at the organization.

Barbara Sravistava said the two young women allegedly suffered “mental abuse” at the hands of Miss USA president Laylah Rose, in their brief time as title-holders after being crowned last year.

Pageant queens Noelia Voigt and UmaSofia Srivastava, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA respectively, both announced they would be stepping down from their positions earlier this month amid accusations of unprofessional behavior, workplace bullying and harassment.

Speaking to The Independent, Ms Voigt said the families had been through “many bad situations with the organization” which had stemmed from a lack of communication.

“From the very beginning [when] the girls won the titles the communication was really bad,” she claimed. “They didn’t know what they were doing wrong, why they were getting such bad texts and emails. You know, like, not normal. Normally you talk to a person.

Miss Teen USA 2023, UmaSofia Srivastava, left, and Miss USA 2023, Noelia Voigt, right, recently both announced they would be resigning from their positions amid accusations of a toxic work environment (Getty Images for Supermodels Unl)

“They didn’t know why they got in trouble so often when they didn’t even discuss rules. It was not much communication, but when it was, it was bad.”

In a recent interview with Gord Morning America (GMA), Ms Voigt revealed that her daughter had also allegedly received unwanted sexual advances from a man at a 2023 Christmas parade.

Representatives of the organization allegedly told Ms Voigt they could not control what the public said to its winners that those kinds of advances "essentially just comes with the territory," she told GMA.

Speaking of the alleged encounter, Ms Voigt told The Independent: “It was very difficult. I noticed that she was confused, she was in shock and that’s what I said. You need to communicate and send an email. We were very upset.

“It was one of many, many bad situations she went through with the organization.”

Among the allegations, reported by the New York Post, were that the toxic conditions had gotten so bad that at one point Ms Sravistava’s parents had not let her talk to Ms Rose.

“The job of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare,” Ms Srivastava told GMA. “It’s not about what they didn’t get in prizes, it’s about how they were ill-treated abused bullied and cornered.”

Speaking to The Independent, Ms Sravistava described the alleged treatment of the women by Ms Rose as akin to “mental abuse”. “That woman [Rose] tormented them daily and threatened them,” she said.

Both mothers have said they want Ms Rose to step down. The CW, which airs the contests, said it is reevaluating its relationship with the organization.

The Independent attempted to contact the Miss USA Organization about the accusations against Ms Rose. It has also contacted the Miss Universe Organization, which owns the license to the Miss USA competition.

UmaSofia Srivastava, who made history in 2023 when she was crowned the first Mexican-Indian Miss New Jersey Teen USA, resigned last week, just days after Ms Voigt relinquished her own crown.

In an Instagram post, the teenager wrote that her “personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.” Ms Voigt had voiced similar concerns in a separate Instagram post.

Their announcements came on the heels of the resignation of Miss USA Social Media Director Claudia Michelle, who voiced several concerns about her experience with the Miss USA Organisation.

In a statement to the GMA, Miss USA said: “We are committed to fostering a healthy, communicative and supportive environment for all contestants, state titleholders, national titleholders and staff.”

The Miss USA Organization falls under the umbrella of the Miss Universe Organization, which owns the license to Miss USA and sold the license to Ms Rose.

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