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Dethroned Miss Delaware Sues Over Being 'Too Old'

By Brett Snider, Esq. on July 18, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Former Miss Delaware Amanda Longacre is suing state and national scholarship pageant associations for telling her she was too old to maintain her title.

And by old, Longacre means that she is 24. Miss America pageant rules state that "contestants must be 17 to 24 years old," and Longacre, who is gunning for the Miss America crown, will turn 25 in October. The News Journal reports that not only is Longacre suing to reclaim her crown, titles, and scholarships, but she is part of a $3 million suit that includes other contestants who were certified by the pageants and then disqualified.

Is Longacre really "too old" for Miss America?

Certified, Then Disqualified

Longacre's lawsuit claims that she was initially certified with pageant officials, who knew of her age, and then dethroned about two weeks after being crowned Miss Delaware. The dethroned pageant queen told the Journal that she feels lumped in with those winners who were disqualified for "something morally and ethically wrong."

Adding insult to injury, the suit alleges that pageant executive director Debi Wilson tried to placate Longacre with "a wine and cheese pajama party."

After the former contestant went public with her story, pageant officials eventually told the Journal that Longacre would receive her scholarships for her state and local titles. But that isn't all Longacre is seeking.

Alleged Damages From the DQ

As part of her $500,000 claim for damages, Longacre is seeking compensation for:

  • Loss of future career enhancements;
  • Lost wages and opportunities from putting her education and career on hold for the pageant; and
  • Money spent on clothing, hair, makeup, and voice coaching in preparation for the competition,

It's unclear whether Longacre is seeking damages for the emotional toil she claims the dethroning has put her through. But if she does seek damages for emotional distress, the pageant participant may need some medical records to back it up.

Just a Contract Mistake?

From the pageant officials' point of view, this issue is one of breach of contract. In their eyes, because Longacre wasn't eligible to compete in the national Miss America pageant because of her age, she was in breach of her agreement with the Miss Delaware pageant.

Contracts can be reformed or voided when both parties make a mutual mistake, and pageant officials maintain that they didn't learn of Longacre's age issue until after she was crowned.

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