Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Resignation – EPIC Response

I mulled over this situation throughout the last two weeks, allowing it to sink in, even sleeping on it, yet the weight of its gravity persists. It’s not just about the personal turmoil Noelia and UmaSofia are enduring; it’s a reflection of broader systemic issues within our industry.

I’ve seen the outpouring of shock and the well-wishes for Noelia and Uma’s mental health. While those sentiments are essential, there’s a deeper layer here that demands attention. This incident is symptomatic of an industry that sometimes undermines rather than empowers its participants. It’s about the voices that are suppressed, the dreams shattered, and the ideals tarnished by the very system that claims to uplift.

As a student of psychology myself, this strikes a chord with me on a profound level. I’m acutely aware of how such trauma can scar not just the mind but the soul. Noelia’s journey to Miss USA and the memories she leaves with has undoubtedly been altered irreversibly.

It’s disheartening to think of all the young girls who aspire to follow in their footsteps, oblivious to the challenges and injustices they might face. Have we inadvertently created a culture within our industry that preys on the vulnerability of young women? Have we lost sight of the fact that they are the heart and soul of what we do?

This hits close to home for me, recalling the countless times I’ve comforted girls who’ve been pressured to compromise their integrity for the sake of winning, or worse, endured verbal abuse and body shaming. Or my own journey to directorship and being asked to falsify results by a national director. Noelia’s courageous decision to step away speaks volumes about the toxic environment she’s been subjected to as did my own and my decision to launch EPIC.

There’s no easy fix to this complex issue, but one thing is clear: we must take a stand like never before. We cannot continue to expose our girls to individuals and situations that compromise their well-being. We need to speak out against abuse, discrimination, and silencing, even if it means disrupting the status quo. I can offer my own assurance that first and foremost that within my power I will continue to build EPIC to be a pageant system built on my own ethics, a place where delegates are encouraged to grow and speak out. I pledge to keep an open mind, open heart and open door. I pledge to take action on bullying and not let it be ignored.

Positive pageantry should embody positive action—standing up for what’s right, even when it’s uncomfortable. Let’s not be swayed by the allure of success or fear of retribution. Noelia and Uma’s choice to walk away is nothing short of iconic, and we owe it to them and others like them to amplify their voices and advocate for change.

While we may not have all the details surrounding this situation, it’s crucial to reflect on our own well-being, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month. Reach out, have honest conversations, and remember, you’re not alone in this journey.

PS: I acknowledge there’s much we don’t know, and these thoughts are solely my own interpretation. Let’s continue to support one another and foster open dialogue.

Emissary Pageants International Congress

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