Winner of University Pageant Sues Over Age Dispute

The 2016 winner of Miss Coastal Carolina University is suing the college and the pageant for allowing her to compete even though she was too old to qualify for the state’s pageant held the following June, according to a report by The Post and Courier.

Allura Westberry turned 25 before the end of 2017, making her ineligible to run for Miss South Carolina that year. Westberry said she gave the university and the pageant her biographical information and was told her age would not be a problem. According to Westberry, in court documents, the university said it would remove her title if she did not compete in the statewide pageant.

In court documents, the university said it knew Westberry’s age before she entered the Miss South Carolina contest. But the college did not comment on whether it threatened to remove Westberry’s title if she stopped participating in pageant activities.

Martha Hunn, a spokesperson for Coastal Carolina University, denied Westberry’s accusations in an email to The Post and Courier.

“We disagree with the student’s characterization of events that are alleged in the complaint, and we believe the University handled these circumstances appropriately,” Hunn wrote.

Westberry said the pageant was costly in money and time. The ocean conservation student is asking for $25,000 in the suit, for costs related to “hair, make-up, apparel, photos, tickets and alike.” In addition, Westberry said she had delay her graduation by a semester when she was unable to take summer classes due to pageant-related activities, and had to keep paying rent on her Conway apartment, situated near the university’s campus.

“Anybody that wants to do any pageant, I would pretty much just insist that they do all of their research and just know that it does cost a lot of money,” Westberry said.