Noelia Voigt, Miss Utah USA, was named Miss USA 2023 on Friday night at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada.
At the pageant, which was televised by The CW, Voigt received her crown from Miss USA 2022, Morgan Romano. Romano, the first runner-up for Miss USA last year, took over the title from R’Bonney Gabriel, who moved on to become Miss Universe in January.
Voigt, who lives in Salt Lake City, has ties to Alabama, according to her LinkedIn profile. She attended the University of Alabama, Jefferson State Community College and the Aveda Institute Birmingham, LinkedIn says. Voigt also worked as an interior design consultant for RH Birmingham. Before becoming Miss Utah USA, Voigt competed for Miss Alabama USA and was first-runner up for that pageant in 2022 (as Miss Camelia) and 2023 (as Miss Greystone). She moved to Salt Lake City in April, according to a post on her Instagram page.
“Noelia Voigt embodies the essence of a transformational leader and a force for good,” the Miss USA website says. “As an interior design student, her dream is to establish her own design firm and host a TV show, where she gives back to families in need of a home makeover.
“Her bilingual background as a Venezuelan-American woman enriches her cultural perspective. As the daughter of a Venezuelan immigrant, immigration rights are incredibly important to her. With a remarkable commitment to advocacy, Noelia has championed dating violence awareness and prevention for six years alongside the One Love Foundation, educating over a thousand students nationwide about the critical aspects of healthy and unhealthy relationships. She is also a published children’s book author.
“Off-duty, Noelia finds joy in teaching her Australian shepherd, Mila, tricks, going car camping amidst Utah’s National Parks and Latin dancing. Her fascination with severe weather fuels her aspiration for future storm chasing adventures.”
As Miss USA, Voigt will move on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant on Nov. 18, 2023, in El Salvador.
Voigt bested 50 other contestants for the Miss USA title, including Miss Alabama USA 2023, Sophie Burzynski. Burzynski won the state title in January, competing as Miss Auburn-Opelika USA. All contestants for Miss USA are the winners of pageants held earlier this year.
Burzynski was among the top 20 contestants announced on Friday, competing in televised swimsuit and evening gown competitions. The number of finalists was then trimmed to a top five for a question-and-answer session. (Miss USA doesn’t have a talent competition.)
Burzynski didn’t make the final five, so she didn’t answer a question on camera for the judges. Earlier this week, however, Burzynski competed in a preliminary competition for Miss USA, a state costume contest and other pageant events.
Savannah Gankiewicz, Miss Hawaii USA, was named the runner-up for Miss USA. Alexis Loomans, Miss Wisconsin USA, took third place. Jasmine Daniels, Miss Pennsylvania USA, came in fourth. Lluvia Alzate, Miss Texas USA, rounded out the top five finalists.
Voigt begins a yearlong reign as Miss USA. If she becomes the new Miss Universe, Voigt will cede the Miss USA title to Gankiewicz, the first runner-up.
Judges for the Miss USA pageant were Vivica A. Fox, Nicole Miller, Patrick Starr, Countess Luann Lesseps and Emina Cunmulaj Nazarian. Hosts for the show were Keltie Knight and Adrienne Bailon-Houghton.
“Our pageant is not just about outer beauty; we celebrate the inner beauty and intelligence of our contestants,” the Miss USA website says. “Our contestants come from diverse backgrounds and have varied interests, but they all share the same goal of empowering and inspiring young women across the world. We believe that every woman has the potential to achieve great things, and we are committed to providing them with the resources and opportunities to do so.”
Finals for a companion pageant, Miss Teen USA, were held on Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. UmaSofia Srivastava, who competed as Miss New Jersey Teen USA, was the winner for 2023.
“UmaSofia Srivastava is the first Mexican-Indian Miss New Jersey Teen USA and hopes to become a UN ambassador,” the Miss Teen USA website says. “She works with the Lotus Petal Foundation to help underprivileged children in India receive a well rounded education, proper nutrition and healthcare. UmaSofia also collected over 1000 books for the Bridge of Books Foundation to donate to inner-city kids in New Jersey.”
The Miss USA and Miss Teen USA organizations have a new owner this year, after facing a national controversy that rocked the pageant world.
Laylah Rose — head of the VIP Pageantry television network and founder of clothing brand Laylah Rose Couture — was announced in August as the new president and CEO of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.Rose takes over the Miss USA brand from the pageant’s former national director, Crystle Stewart and her company, Miss Brand.
In October 2022, Stewart and the Miss USA pageant faced allegations of rigging the competition to favor Miss Texas USA, R’Bonney Gabriel, who was named the winner. Gabriel later went to win the title of Miss Universe.
“After a thorough and extensive investigation, it was found that accusations of rigging of the 2022 Miss USA Pageant were false,” the Miss Universe Organization said in a statement released on Aug. 1. “… However, after much discussion and consideration, MUO and Crystle were unable to reach an agreement as to Crystle and Miss Brand’s continuing involvement with Miss USA and the Miss Universe Organization.”
The new owner has made a few changes to the pageant this year, according to an interview with Insider magazine. Rose said, for example, that Miss USA 2023 would place more emphasis on interviews with the contestants, reducing the focus on swimsuit and evening gown rounds. In the past, all three segments have carried equal weight in the judges’ scores. Now, Rose said, the interview round makes up 50% of the total score, while swimsuit and evening-gown rounds each count for 25% of the score.
Miss USA remains linked to Miss Universe, but the global pageant has a new owner, as well. In October 2022, Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, a Thai businesswoman, bought the Miss Universe Organization from Endeavor’s IMG for $20 million, making her the first woman to own Miss Universe in its 71-year history. She’s the CEO of the Thailand-based media company JKN Global Group.