Miss Utah Noelia Voigt was crowned Miss USA 2023, succeeding North Carolina's Morgan Romano, who took on the role after original winner R'Bonney Gabriel became Miss Universe 2022.
It's a party in the USA! After all, Miss Utah Noelia Voigt was crowned the winner of the 2023 Miss USA competition at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno on Sept. 29. Miss Hawaii Savannah Gankiewicz was awarded runner-up, while Miss Wisconsin Alexis Loomans, Miss Pennsylvania Jasmine Daniels and Miss Texas Lluvia Alzate came in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively. Noelia celebrated her Venezuelan-American identity during the question portion of the show. In July, she shared on Instagram, "I am honored to be the first Venezuelan-American woman to hold the title of Miss Utah USA, and I am truly looking forward to breaking barriers and bridging the gap between communities by being able to speak Spanish and connect with the large Hispanic population in Utah." The new Miss USA succeeds Morgan Romano of North Carolina, who took over the title in January after last year's pageant winner R'Bonney Gabriel was named Miss Universe 2022.
This year's event is the first held under the leadership of fashion designer Laylah Rose, who became the Miss USA Organization's president last month after Crystle Stewart stepped down from the role following allegations of rigging the 2022 pageant in favor of R'Bonney. (Crystle has denied the accusations, while R'Bonney previously told E! News that the competition was "not rigged.")
"After a thorough and extensive investigation, it was found that accusations of rigging of the 2022 Miss USA Pageant were false," a spokesperson for The Miss Universe Organization, which oversees Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants, said in an Aug. 1 press release. "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."
So, what's changed? The scoring system, for one.
"I came in and I wanted to really highlight the delegates as individuals," Laylah told Insider ahead of the competition, sharing that the interview portion will now make up 50 percent of a contestant's total score, while the swimsuit and evening-gown rounds make up 25 percent each. "We're not just parading onstage and we're not just wearing heels. We're actually out there supporting our platforms and making waves and breaking glass ceilings in the philanthropy world that we want to be in."
She added that questions asked during the interview will be designed to shine a spotlight on the delegates as individuals.
"I really want them to shine within themselves and who they are," the exec added, "because that's exactly how Miss USA is chosen."