Noelia Voigt of Utah Wins Miss USA 2023
The 72nd annual Miss USA pageant was held on Friday, September 29, 2023, at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada. The event marked the first time that the pageant aired on a broadcast television network in nearly a decade, as it was streamed live on The CW website and mobile app1. The pageant featured 51 contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, who competed in three rounds: swimsuit, evening gown, and interview.
The winner of the pageant was Noelia Voigt of Utah, who received the crown from Miss USA 2022 Morgan Romano of North Carolina. Romano took over the title after R’Bonney Gabriel of Texas won Miss Universe 2022 earlier this year3. Voigt is the first Venezuelan-American woman to win Miss USA, and she celebrated her heritage during the interview round. She said that she wanted to “bridge the gap between communities” by speaking Spanish and connecting with the large Hispanic population in Utah4. Voigt is a 23-year-old graduate of Brigham Young University, where she majored in communications. She works as a digital marketing specialist and runs a blog called “Noelia’s Notes”, where she shares her thoughts on fashion, beauty, travel, and lifestyle5.
The first runner-up of the pageant was Savannah Gankiewicz of Hawaii, who is a 25-year-old kindergarten teacher and a former professional ballerina. She said that her platform was to promote arts education and mental health awareness among children6. The second runner-up was Alexis Loomans of Wisconsin, who is a 22-year-old wealth management analyst and a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association. She said that her platform was to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research and care7. The third runner-up was Jasmine Daniels of Pennsylvania, who is a 24-year-old digital press secretary for the U.S. House of Representatives. She said that her platform was to empower women and girls to pursue careers in politics and public service8. The fourth runner-up was Manju Bangalore of Oregon, who is a 26-year-old aerospace engineer and a NASA ambassador. She said that her platform was to inspire young girls to pursue STEM fields and space exploration9.
The judges for the pageant were fashion designer Nicole Miller, actress Vivica A. Fox, model Emina Cunmulaj Nazarian, and beauty influencer Patrick Starrr. They evaluated the contestants based on their appearance, personality, intelligence, and social impact10. The pageant also allowed viewers to vote for their favorite contestant online and through an app called Tally Genie11.
The pageant underwent some changes this year under the leadership of Laylah Rose, who became the president of the Miss USA Organization last month. Rose said that she wanted to highlight the contestants as individuals and showcase their achievements and platforms. She also changed the scoring system, making the interview round count for 50 percent of the final score, while the swimsuit and evening gown rounds each counted for 25 percent12. Additionally, Rose decided to eliminate political questions from the final round, saying that she wanted to give the contestants “their moment” without controversy.
The Next Step
Voigt will represent the United States at the Miss Universe 2023 competition, which will be held in El Salvador later this year. She will compete against more than 90 contestants from around the world for the coveted crown. Voigt said that she was excited and honored to be the new Miss USA and that she hoped to make a positive difference in the world.