Ex-Miss Delaware, Amanda Longacre, Sues Miss America For Ageism — Because 25 Is Not "Too Old"
It takes a lot to be a pageant winner: talent, beauty, smart answers to current events questions — and apparently, being until 25. After being stripped of her crown because she's "too old," former Miss Delaware Amanda Longacre is suing the Miss America organization, as well as the Miss Delaware competition, for ageism. Longacre is only 24 years old, but she turns 25 in October — an age that puts her over the hill in the eyes of the national pageant organization.
Longacre was crowned Miss Delaware on June 14, but was removed from the position just two weeks later when pageant officials discovered she exceeded the age requirement — kind of. Longacre was 24 when she competed in the Miss Delaware contest last month, and will be 24 when the Miss America pageant rolls around in September. However, she turns 25 in October.
According to Miss America board member and legal counsel Elizabeth Soucek, the "Miss America rule" is that contestants can't turn 25 before Dec. 31, 2014. That means every Miss America contestant this year has to be born in 1994 or later. Longacre was born in 1989, so she's practically ancient.
The Miss America website simply states: "Contestants in the Miss America system are between the ages of 17 and 24." It doesn't mention anything about participants being disqualified for turning 25 in the same year as the competition.
Longacre is seeking $3 million in damages, and wants her scholarships from the pageant organization restored. She would also like to be reinstated as Miss Delaware and serve a full year in the position, and is requesting a waive to compete at the Miss America competition in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in September.
State pageant officials have yet to comment on the lawsuit. Meanwhile, the national Miss America organization seems to think it's pretty trivial. "This case has no merit and we will vigorously defend it," the Miss America Organization said in a statement.
The former Miss Delaware first publicly discussed her situation in an emotional interview on "The Today Show" in late June. "It's like they're trying to erase me, like it never happened," Longacre said. "It's not fair, because I won outright. I deserve to represent my state."
Longacre added that she gave the state pageant organization all of her information, including her birth date, during the application process. "I provided my birth certificate, my driver's license. ... My birth date was even written on the contract that the board signed off on and approved," she said.
The strangest thing about this case is this: Why 25 is considered too old for the Miss America pageant in the first place? After all, the Miss USA pageant allows women 27 or younger to compete.
Really, nothing says your value as an adult woman goes down once you're 25 when you look at the differences between the Miss America and Ms. America pageants, the latter of which is "is for women 26-60 years of age who are single, divorced, widowed or married." In America, it seems like you can only be a hot "Miss" for so long.
Images: Amanda Longacre/Twitter, Getty Images, Fox, Today