What Really Happened Inside Miss USA?


When Ms. Voigt and her mother returned to the United States, they ran into more problems. As part of her title, Ms. Voigt expected to receive a $100,000 salary, a luxury car and an apartment in Los Angeles to live in for the duration of her reign. It seemed like a reasonable expectation: During the televised broadcast of Miss USA, one of the hosts rattled off a list of prizes the winner would receive, including an apartment and a car. Ms. Rose said in an email that while Ms. Voigt’s contract included a salary, the other prizes were not guaranteed.

Still, in December, Ms. Rose told Ms. Voigt the organization had secured her a new apartment, according to Jackeline Voigt. When it never materialized, Ms. Voigt, who had already moved out of her apartment in Utah, ended up crashing with friends and family. She confided in her pageant coach, Thom Brodeur, about her housing situation. He jokingly called her “the homeless Miss USA,” Mr. Brodeur said.

Finally, in March, Miss USA provided Ms. Voigt with a car and a place to live in Miami.

It wasn’t enough. Two months later, Ms. Voigt resigned. In her internal resignation letter, obtained by The New York Times, she detailed the allegations about not receiving her apartment and car in a timely manner. She wrote that being Miss USA had affected her health, adding that she struggled with anxiety and took medication to manage her symptoms.

She also described an incident of sexual harassment when, during a Christmas parade last year in Sarasota, Fla., the driver of her car made an inappropriate comment. He asked her if she was “into old men with money,” Jackeline Voigt said her daughter had told her. In her resignation letter, Ms. Voigt wrote that the organization failed to support her when she reported the incident.

In late May, Ms. Rose replied to Ms. Voigt in a 10-page letter obtained by The Times. In it, Ms. Rose denied Ms. Voigt’s accusations and accused her of carrying out a “smear campaign” against the organization. Ms. Rose wrote that she “immediately” discussed the incident at the Christmas parade with Ms. Voigt after being made aware of it.

“You indicated you did not need or want to seek redress,” Ms. Rose wrote.

Ms. Srivastava, the Miss Teen USA, had her own tensions with the Miss USA organization — and with Ms. Rose specifically. Her mother, Barbara Srivastava, said in an interview that Ms. Rose could be abrasive in emails with her then-16-year-old daughter. (Ms. Rose described her communication style as “professional and appropriate.”) The younger Ms. Srivastava declined to comment because of a nondisclosure agreement.



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