Mothers of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA allege ‘abuse’

Mothers of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA allege ‘abuse’

The mothers of former Miss USA and Miss Teen USA have spoken out about why their daughters stepped down from their titles.

One mother told a US morning news show that “the job of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare”.

Both pageant queens resigned just one day apart from each other last week.

Miss USA and Miss Teen USA said last week that they support the two titleholders’ decision to step down and would announce a successor.

Miss Universe, which runs the sister pageants, has not addressed the allegations of abuse and bullying. The BBC has contacted the organisation for comment.

The two mothers told ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday that they were speaking out on behalf of their daughters as they are bound by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

Barbara Srivastava, mother of Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, was interviewed alongside Jackeline Voigt, the mother of former Miss USA Noelia Voigt.

Ms Srivastava told the programme that their families “could not continue this charade”.

They alleged their daughters had been “ill-treated, abused, bullied and cornered”, and asked for an apology from Miss Universe Organization.

Noelia Voigt was the first of the two to resign on 6 May, citing mental health struggles.

“Never compromise your physical and mental wellbeing,” the 24-year-old wrote in a post on Instagram. “Our health is our wealth.”

Some fans speculated on the meaning behind her note, which they said seemed to spell out “I am silenced” in the first 11 sentences.

Her mother declined to answer whether the cryptic message was intentional, but said she felt her daughter had been silenced by the organisation.

“And she would be for the rest of her life if this NDA is not [lifted],” she added.

Noelia Voigt’s resignation came three days after Miss USA’s social media director, Claudia Michelle, announced her own resignation from the brand, citing alleged “workplace toxicity and bullying” and saying that titleholders “should be heard and not silenced”.

Just one day after Noelia Voigt’s exit, UmaSofia Srivastava resigned from her title as Miss Teen USA. The 17-year-old also made the announcement on Instagram, writing that her “personal values no longer fully align” with the pageant organisation.

UmaSofia Srivastava’s mother said in the interview that her daughter was mistreated by the Miss Universe Organization and that her personal social media was surveilled.

She said her daughter’s resignation was prompted by Noelia Voigt’s exit.

Both mothers called for an end to participation in all Miss USA-affiliated pageants, saying they do not want others to experience the same mistreatment their daughters allegedly faced.

The Miss Teen USA runner-up, Stephanie Skinner, 19, told the New York Post, external on Monday that she doesn’t want the crown either.

“I ultimately came to the decision to decline it,” she said, adding that she was “standing in solidarity and standing up for female empowerment”.

“My integrity and my character will always come before crowns.”

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