As of Wednesday, Miss Delaware's 1st runner up Brittany Lewis finds herself assuming the crown she thought she lost to Miss Dover's Amanda Longacre earlier this month.
UPDATE-MONDAY, JUNE, 30—Elizabeth Soucek, the attorney for the Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization, confirmed today that, despite being stripped of her crown and title, Amanda Longacre would be able to keep her scholarship money.
Longacre will receive $9,000 for being crowned as Miss Delaware as well as monetary awards for preliminary awards in talent and congeniality. Without the final totals in front of her, Soucek said she thought the grand total for Longacre might be around $11,000.
The new Miss Delaware, Brittany Lewis, will also receive the $9,000 title award.
Longacre has participated in several interviews with regional and national news outlets, including the "Today Show," which she appeared on with her attorney this morning. She stated that she was considering bringing a lawsuit against the Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization in an effort to compete at the Miss America competition in September.
When asked about the lawsuit, Soucek said, "We're aware of the possibility of it but we can't comment at this time."
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25—Earlier this month, the Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization, a pre-cursor to the Miss America pageant, crowned its 2014 winner: Miss Pike Creek Amanda Longacre.
Less than two weeks later, the organization has announced that Brittany Lewis—who placed as 1st runner up— is officially the new Miss Delaware. According to a press release sent out by MDSO, “following the Miss Delaware Pageant, it was determined that Amanda Longacre exceeded the age requirement in order to be eligible to compete.”
In other words, at 24 years old, Longacre has been deemed too old to compete. But, this is where it gets a bit confusing for non-pageant people because the rules state that competing girls must be at least 17 years old and a high school senior and no older than 24 years old.
Doesn’t Longacre qualify then? Yes and no.
The Miss America pageant is in September. Longacre will turn 25 in October. The “fine print” actually states that girls must be 24 years old through Dec. 31. It’s the October birthday that now makes her ineligible. Her age discrepancy was discovered when Miss Delaware’s information was sent to the national organization.
“This is just a terrible mistake,” said Miss Delaware Press and Publicity coordinator Carolyn Nelson. “She’s done nothing wrong and wasn’t trying to hide anything. She thought that as long as she was still 24 years old while she competed in Miss America, it wouldn’t be a problem. She didn’t know that the national rules required her to be that age through the end of the year.”
Nelson said she has not spoken to Longacre since the announcement but suspects that she is “understandably upset.” She added that she can’t remember this ever happening in Delaware before but that it does happen.
“She was so excited when she won,” Nelson said. “She couldn’t wait to represent Delaware.”
However, most people are familiar with the phrase uttered just before Miss America is crowned every year: “If for any reason Miss America can’t fulfill her duties, the first runner up will step in to take her place.”
Apparently, that rule trickles down to the state level. Brittany Lewis, who competed in the 2014 Miss Delaware pageant as Miss Wilmington isn’t exactly a newcomer to pageants. Last year, she was the 2nd runner-up and competed as Miss Hockessin. Before that, she also competed in the Miss Pennsylvania system.
Last September, ahead of the Miss Hockessin pageant that crowned her 2014 Miss Delaware competitor Donata Leckie, Lewis spoke about her affinity for what pageants have to offer, saying that the competition can be “great for girls who are passionate about a cause.” In pageant circles that cause is known as a competitor’s “platform.” Lewis picked domestic violence.
“My sister died in March 2010 as a result of domestic violence. It was literally crippling,” she said at the time. “But, I have found that I can talk about it and make a difference before it becomes fatal for other families.”
Other pageant requirements include a competitor’s living situation. She must be living, working or attending school in Delaware for at least six months prior to the program. She must be within the age limits, single and unmarried or non-divorced. The Miss America Organization also sets forth character requirements and girls should consider that that crown equals a substantial time commitment after the pageant as well, with appearances and speaking obligations.
Calls to Lewis were not immediately returned but, according to Nelson, her first words as the new Miss Delaware will likely be uttered at a press conference following the official crowning tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. in the mezzanine at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino.