A woman stripped of her Miss Delaware title last month for being too old is suing state pageant officials and the Miss America organization.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Amanda Longacre is seeking to be reinstated as Miss Delaware and to be allowed to compete in the Miss America pageant. She also is seeking $500,000 in damages for herself and $2.5 million for other contestants who she claims were recruited to compete in pageants before being told they were too old.
Pageant officials say contestants must be between 17 and 24. Longacre turns 25 in October, after this year's national pageant, but the rules purportedly require contestants to be no older than 24 at year's end.
"I lost everything and they want to erase me forever," Longacre told MyFoxPhilly shortly after her crown was taken away. The former pageant winner said she was unaware of the rules when she entered the competition.
"It is in the contract however, but it’s very deeply hidden in the contract and, because I was told of my eligibility, I assumed that my paperwork was being verified by the board," she said.
Media relations coordinator for the Miss Delaware organization Carolyn Nelson told The State News in Dover that Longacre was not at fault and had filled out her birth date correctly on the application.
Longacre says the organization is to blame for the oversight.
"It’s not really quite fair if somebody is allowed to turn 25 during January and be 25 for almost 75 percent of their reign," she said.
State and national pageant representatives did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.