Miss Teen USA Resigns, Saying Her Values ‘No Longer Fully Align’ With the Organization 

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Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia Srivastava, 17, announced that she would be stepping down from her role, saying that her personal values “no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.”

“After months of grappling with this decision, I have made the choice to resign from the title of Miss Teen USA 2023,” she said in a statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday afternoon.
“I will always look back on my time as Miss NJ Teen USA fondly, and the experience of representing my state as a first generation, Mexican-Indian American at the national level was fulfilling in itself.” 

In a statement posted to Instagram, Miss Teen USA said they “respect and support” Srivastava’s decision, and will look to transfer her responsibilities to a successor. “The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority,” the statement read. Miss USA Organization, the parent organization of Miss Teen USA and Miss USA, did not reply to TIME’s request for comment ahead of publication. 

The news comes just days after Miss USA, Noelia Voigt, 24, announced her resignation from the title to focus on her mental health. Her statement, which she released on Instagram on Monday, May 6, drew speculation online after many noticed that the first letters of the first 11 sentences in her statement spelled: “I am silenced” (The first letters of the final three sentences spelled “hip.”)

In the days prior, Miss USA's social media director, Claudia Michelle, announced that she would resign from the brand due to "workplace toxicity and bullying," and added that titleholders "should be heard and not silenced". (Miss USA told USA Today that Michelle's statement contained "false accusations", and said the organization was "committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and supportive environment,” and “take these allegations seriously.”)

Miss USA Organization has come under fire in recent years after contestants alleged in 2022 that the competition was rigged and that organizers gave preferential treatment to that year’s winner, ​​R’Bonney Gabriel. (Gabriel soon resigned the Miss USA title to Miss North Carolina, Morgan Romano.) Miss USA released a statement in December 2023 saying that an investigation had found the rigging claims to be false, according to the Washington Post.

Srivastava says she will continue to focus on her personal projects, including her work with educational advocacy non-profits, as well as finishing high school. She has written and illustrated a multilingual children’s book, The White Jaguar, and says she also plans to begin a new writing project. “I look forward to the rest of the year as I finish 11th grade as part of the National Honor Society and start the college application process, knowing that my academic career has been defined by my hard work, and my hard work alone,” she said. “Most importantly, thank you to those who support me for who I am and have always been, not for who I’ve momentarily become.”

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Write to Simmone Shah at simmone.shah@time.com