Miss Hawaii Loses Her Title, Too Old At 25, Officials Say
HONOLULU (AP) _ Tina Marie Machado has lost her Miss Hawaii USA crown, after less than a week. Pageant officials say she is too old at 25 and won by mistake.
Miss Machado was told Tuesday to step down in favor of Toni Leimomi Costa, 18, runner-up in the pageant Friday. Officials said Miss Costa will represent the state in the Miss USA pageant May 13 in Lakeland, Fla.
Pageant director Gay Zuercher and executive producer Phil Ritz said Miss Hawaii USA entrants must be under 25 and it was an error when Miss Machado was allowed to enter. She turned 25 in November.
Meanwhile, Miss Machado’s parents said she has already given up her job at the Honolulu Board of Realtors because her employer feared she would miss too much work through her beauty-contest commitments.
Ms. Zuercher called the mistake ″a disappointing turn of events, an inadvertent oversight.″
″Nobody’s perfect,″ she said.
″Tina gained recognition,″ Ms. Zuercher said. ″This should make her proud. She was gracious in winning and she must be gracious now and relinquish her title.″
But Miss Machado, saying she was looking in the want ads in search of a job, vowed to press to keep her title.
″I had a dream and I set out to make it a reality,″ she said.
″Yesterday I had a crown and a job. Now I have nothing. I’m very confused.
″I won’t give it up this easily,″ she said. ″I worked too hard to win it.″
Miss Machado said she was misled twice by pageant officials. Her age was clearly stated on the application and Ms. Zuercher ″said I could compete with her approval,″ Miss Machado said.
She declined to say if she would take legal action.
Along with the title, she apparently must give up $2,000 in prizes.
″I’m not being a poor loser. I worked so hard.″