At 24, a person has a whole life ahead of them. But 24 years old is too old for Miss America.
Amanda Longacre, 24, was declared Miss Delaware in 2014, but was later stripped of her crown—and her scholarship money—by Miss America organizers because she was deemed too old.
Pageant organizers told Longacre her age violated competition rules. The Miss America Organization website says in its guidelines that contestants must be 17 to 24 years old. Longacre turns 25 in October, a month after the Miss America competition.
“I am so, like, really upset,” Longacre said on The Today Show. “I just found out on Tuesday that I was stripped of my crown [because of an] age clause that clearly the board of my state didn’t even know about.”
— Andre Lyrix Lamar (@302DoAndre) June 18, 2014
First runner-up, 24-year-old Brittany Lewis, was crowned the new Miss Delaware on Thursday.
Longacre won the crown on June 14 and had reportedly submitted copies of her birth certificate, driver's license and Social Security card with her pageant application.
"I competed on the local and state level and even signed my national contract and it was notarized and no one said anything to me and it was all notarized with my birthday on the contract," she said, according to USA Today. "I gave them all the proper documents. And it was verified with a director that I was eligible to compete, as long as I was 24 at the Miss America pageant.”
Longacre lost the $11,000 scholarship that came with the crown as well as the opportunity to compete in the Miss America pageant in September in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
"Now I have lost everything—my scholarship money for school, my prizes, and my crown—all because of a technicality that was not caught by the executive board," she told Delaware Online.
The Miss Delaware website as well as Miss America will remove Longacre from the websites.
"Following the Miss Delaware Pageant, it was determined that Amanda Longacre exceeded the age requirement in order to be eligible to compete. Therefore, the Miss Delaware 2014 title is awarded to Brittany Lewis," the Miss America organization said in a press release Thursday. "The Miss Delaware Pageant is proud to congratulate Brittany and wishes Amanda the very best on her future endeavors."
Longacre’s attorney, Mark Billion of Wilmington, told the News Journal that her losses may be an upwards of $10,000, which doesn’t include income she could have received for winning. She also had delayed her master's degree studies in social work, believing she would have to carry out her duties as Miss Delaware.
"We believe there's a breach of contract here," Billion said.
Longacre says she is being stigmatized like some former beauty queens who were stripped of their titles for criminal behavior or involvement with pornography.
"I'm being treated as if I did something morally and ethically wrong," she said. "I'm just really heartbroken.”