Miss USA Noelia Voigt resigned her position on Monday, citing mental health as the main reason for her departure from the role.

“My journey as Miss USA has been incredibly meaningful, representing Utah with pride, and later the USA at Miss Universe,” she wrote in a statement posted to social media. “Sadly, I have made the very tough decision to resign from the title of Miss USA 2023.”

Voigt was named Miss Utah USA in July 2023 and went on to compete in and win the Miss USA pageant in September. She is the first Venezuelan American woman to win Miss USA and only the third Miss Utah to be crowned in the national competition. She also competed in Miss Universe in November 2023.

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As Miss USA, Voigt has advocated for a number of issues. In her post announcing her resignation, she highlighted her work with Smile Train and her focus on anti-bullying, domestic violence awareness and prevention and immigration reform.

Voigt said in her statement that she hopes to continue to advocate for similar topics and to inspire others to prioritize mental health.

“Never compromise your physical and mental well-being,” Voigt wrote in the caption of her post. “Our health is our wealth.”

The Miss USA pageant released a statement to NBC affirming Voigt’s decision.

“We respect and support former Miss USA Noelia Voigt’s decision to step down from her duties,” it said. “The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority, and we understand her need to prioritize herself at this time.”

Why did Miss USA resign?

Voigt stated in her announcement that she values “the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health” and said she feels “this is just the beginning of a new chapter for (her).”

Voigt has spoken on mental health throughout her pageant career. In 2020, she published “Maddie the Brave,” a children’s book encouraging positive affirmations, kindness and respect. A portion of the book’s proceeds are donated to The Maddie Foundation in honor of Madison Whittsett, a 9-year-old Alabama girl who died by suicide in 2018.

Other former Miss USA winners have also spoken out on mental health. Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst, died by suicide in 2022, and her autobiography was published posthumously just last month. Titled “By the Time You Read This: The Space between Cheslie’s Smile and Mental Illness―Her Story in Her Own Words,” it was finished and published by Kryst’s mother, April Simpkins.

Following Kryst’s suicide, the Miss Universe pageant collaborated with her family to compile mental health resources for those involved in Universe competitions.

What’s the difference between Miss USA and Miss America?

Miss USA is not to be confused with Miss America, as they are two separate programs. Miss America was founded in 1921, while Miss USA began in 1952. Miss USA winners go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.

Miss USA does not have a talent portion of the competition, and Miss America removed its swimsuit competition in 2019.

The winners of the two pageants also receive very different awards. While the Miss America winner receives a tuition scholarship, USA Today reports that Miss USA 2022 received “a six-figure salary, a condo in Los Angeles, a ‘fabulous car’ and a wardrobe filled with designer garments.”

Who will take Miss USA Noelia Voigt’s place?

The Miss USA 2023 runner-up is Miss Hawaii USA, Savannah Gankiewicz. KHON2 reports Gankiewicz has been offered the Miss USA title, although she has not made a public statement to accept or reject the crown.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or chatting online at 988lifeline.org.