Controversy over the unceremonious departure of the former Miss Delaware may lead to litigation.  Former Miss Delaware Amanda Longacre was stripped of her crown after winning the title in June.  Brittany Lewis, the original runner-up for the Miss Delaware pageant, was crowned the new Miss Delaware shortly after Longacre’s removal.

Longacre was stripped of her title for being too old.  The Miss America Rule requires that pageant participants fall within the 17-24 year old age requirement.  At the time of registration, Amanda Longacre was 24 years old.

The Miss America Competition takes place in September—the month before Longacre turns 25.  Longacre claims pageant officials informed her that as long as she was 24 at the time of the Miss America Competition, that her age would not be a problem.  However, two weeks after winning the Miss Delaware title, Miss America officials determined that Longacre would age out of the competition.

Bedsides facing public embarrassment, Longacre’s photo was removed from the Miss America website, she lost a shot to compete for the national Miss America title, and over ten thousand dollars in scholarship money associated with her winnings.  Longacre also took a year off from pursuing her Masters in social work in order to fulfill the Miss Delaware contractual requirements.

Mark Billion, counsel for Longacre believes this is a viable breach of contract claim.  In consideration of her Miss Delaware title, Longacre held several fundraisers, hired a designer to create her gown for the Miss America competition, met with a voice coach, and had headshots taken.  Billion believes that Longacre has suffered a financial loss between $5,000 and $10,000.

A line from the Miss America website states, “all you need [to compete for the Miss America title] is commitment, perseverance, talent and ambition.”

And, of course, have a birth certificate with the right age.

–Erin Shackelford

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