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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Crowning glory and agony: Miss SA Natasha Joubert stands by Miss USA amid resignation

Miss SA Natasha Joubert extended her support for Miss USA who relinquished her crown due to mental health issues.

This week, the resignations of the reigning Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in the space of a few days have once again thrown the spotlight on the mental health strain which accompanies the seemingly perfect world of beauty queens.

Our very own Miss SA, Natasha Joubert, has come out in support of Miss USA Noelia Voigt after the American beauty queen relinquished her crown on Monday.

In a show of solidarity and empathy, Natasha left several heart emojis in the comment section of Noelia’s announcement post.

Miss SA 2023  Natasha Joubert and former Miss USA Noelia Voigt.  mental health
Miss SA 2023 Natasha Joubert and former Miss USA Noelia Voigt. Pictures: Instagram

Miss USA cites mental health in resignation

Noelia announced on her Instagram that she was stepping down, citing her mental health.

“Never compromise your physical and mental well-being. Our health is our wealth,” the 24-year-old Venezuelan American who was crowned in September, wrote in her post.

Two days later, Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava, 17, announced she was also stepping down in a statement that said her “personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the [Miss USA] organization.”

miss usa noelia voigt miss usa teen mental health
Miss Teen USA 2023, UmaSofia Srivastava, and Miss USA 2023, Noelia Voigt, attend Supermodels Unlimited Magazine Presents: Billboards Over Broadway – NYFW Celebrity Event at Nebula Nightclub on 10 February 2024 in New York City. Picture: Chance Yeh/Getty Images for Supermodels Unlimited/AFP

The pair stepped down just days after Claudia Michelle, social media director of the Miss USA organization – which was created in 1952 and owned for a time by Donald Trump – quit, citing “workplace toxicity” and claiming the two titleholders were mistreated.

Miss SA Natasha Joubert shares own battle in teary-eyed post

 In a show of solidarity, Joubert left several heart emojis in the comment section of Voigt’s announcement post.

Last month, Natasha took to Instagram to share an emotional post, offering a glimpse into her own personal struggle with mental health.

”I even look at this picture and think… woah, not a good look. I took this picture with the intent of sharing it, because surely other people also go through days of crying the entire day and can’t stop. [..] And this past two weeks I’ve been feeling like I felt on this day,” she wrote.

“Family, my dogs, friends, doing “nothing” and sometimes just being in my feels. At times you can’t do it all. You can’t always be a power woman, full of energy, feel motivated, feel your most beautiful and manage everyone’s expectations.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Natasha Joubert (@natasha_joubert)

ALSO READ: Reigning Miss SA Natasha Joubert’s advice for beauty queens as entries for Miss SA 2024 open

Liesl Laurie-Mthombeni opens up about anxiety

Natasha is not the only former Miss SA who has been brutally honest about the taxing balancing act between the demands of being a beauty queen and mental health.

Last year, Liesl Laurie-Mthombeni opened up about dealing with anxiety. 

 I always take selfies when I look my best, but sometimes I look like this and that’s okay. It’s also very normal to me.

She said she has been dealing with general anxiety. 

“I woke up before 6 this morning feeling extremely overwhelmed by everything. I don’t know if it’s the last quarter of the year push or just general anxiety to ‘kill it’ at everything.”

The Miss South Africa 2015 winner went on to talk about the double standards that women have to deal with and how that weighs down on their emotions. 

“When watching the Barbie movie Gloria’s (America Ferrera) monologue resonated with me so much because it highlighted the impossible double standard of being a woman. 

We have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong,” she added. 

“You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin…”

Take a look…

ALSO READ: PICS: Liesl Laurie-Mthombeni throws a surprise graduation party for Dr Musa

Tragic suicides of former beauty queens

In April this year, Netwerk24 reported that Sasha-Lee Walton, who was named second princess in the Miss SA competition in 1991, allegedly took her own life.

The 54-year-old former beauty queen was previously married to Springbok rugby player James Dalton, with whom she has a 14-year-old son, Daniel.

Former Miss SA princess Sasha-Lee Walton mental health suicide
Sasha-Lee Walton and a younger Daniel. Picture: Facebook/Sasha-Lee Walton

She was also married to Lance Sherrel who played for the Springboks in 1994.

ALSO READ: Miss SA princess Sasha-Lee Walton mourned after passing

In early 2022, the suicide of Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst, sent shockwaves through the beauty pageant world.

Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst suicide
Miss USA Cheslie Kryst walks on stage during the 2019 Miss Universe pageant at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on 8 December 2019. Picture: AFP/ Valerie Macon

In her memoir, By the Time You Read This, published posthumously last month and excerpted by People magazine, she wrote of “long-standing insecurities” that again came to the fore when she won the title and suffered online abuse.

Mental health: Where to get help

Anyone with mental health struggles, can call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s (Sadag) 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 456 789.

Sadag’s WhatsApp counseling line can be contacted from 9am to 4pm at 076 882 2775.

The South African Mental Health Federation can be reached on 011 781 1862 and LifeLine South Africa on 0861 322 322.

  • Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse