Age, it turns out, is not just a number for the Miss America Organization. Two weeks after she was crowned Miss Delaware in her state's pageant on June 14, Amanda Longacre lost the title because of an age dispute. Rules state that contestants in the Miss America pageant must be 17 to 24 years old; Longacre turns 25 in October, a month after the competition.
In a video about the controversy, posted by Delaware Online, Longacre claims she checked with pageant supervisors about the age requirement prior to enrolling; they reportedly told her that she was eligible to compete as long as she was 24 at the time of the actual pageant, which takes place in September.
Earlier this week, however, the Bear, Del., resident was told she could no longer represent the state and would be stripped of her title and $11,000 scholarship. A new Miss Delaware, runner-up Brittany Lewis, who is also 24 but will not turn 25 until 2015, was crowned Thursday, June 26.
"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 organization said in a release, per USA Today. "The Miss Delaware Pageant is proud to congratulate Brittany and wishes Amanda the very best on her future endeavors."
Longacre appeared on NBC's Today show on Friday, June 27, to talk about the controversy. During the interview, she reiterated that she'd turned over all the proper documentation about her age, and that the board had signed off on her application. "I deserve to represent my state," she said, adding that she was speaking with an attorney. Later, when one of the hosts brought up Lewis' crowning, she broke down crying.
She also cried in the Delaware Online video. "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 said through tears.