D-Day for Miss New Jersey

Posted: July 12, 2007

Will Miss New Jersey keep her crown?

State pageant officials today will meet with reigning beauty queen Amy Polumbo and her attorney to discuss a series of photos that someone sent anonymously to pageant officials.

Pageant leaders have said they will announce after that meeting whether Polumbo will continue to represent New Jersey in the next Miss America Pageant.

Polumbo, appearing on NBC's Today show, released the photos for the first time this morning. She said she "felt sick to her stomach" before showing the photos that she had wanted to keep private.

The pictures include one showing what Polumbo said was her boyfriend apparently biting her breast through her shirt, another of Polumbo in a limousine wearing jeans with her legs spread in the air and another of her in what appears to be a Halloween costume dress holding two small pumpkins up to her breasts.

"It's not in a ladylike manner. I'm not a robot. I'm a human being," Polumbo said. While she conceded the photos were embarrassing, she also said they were playful.

Last week, the 22-year-old Howell Township resident held a news conference and announced that someone was anonymously threatening to go public with personal photos of her if she didn't step down as Miss New Jersey by last Friday.

Pageant board member Mark Soifer said the sender claimed to be The Committee to Save Miss America and threatened there would be 24 more mailings of photographs.

Soifer saw the images and said they looked like college students "just playing around" at a party. Miss America officials have left the matter up to the locals to investigate and make a determination.

Crowned on June 16, Polumbo hadn't had long to enjoy her title before the current hullabaloo. Ever since, she has made it clear she wasn't stepping aside without a fight. Her platform in the pageant was working for Internet safety and against online predators.

Anthony Caruso, her attorney, said he had been in touch with the state Attorney General's Office to find if criminal activity was involved.

The attorney general's policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, said spokesman Lee Moore.

There also were photos of the beauty queen drinking, but Polumbo insisted she was of legal age when they were taken.

She said part of the reason she decided to go public with the photos was because other pictures were surfacing purported to be of her which were not.

The photos were taken from Polumbo's former Facebook page, which has since been taken offline.

At least two of the board's five directors said this week they do not consider the photos to be a big problem.

Darlene Corrubia, one of Polumbo's pageant coaches, said she hopes the board allows Polumbo to keep the $10,000 scholarship that came with winning the state title.

"She needs that for her tuition," Corrubia said. "We don't want them to take that away from her."

Polumbo has been singing and acting since she was 3 years old. At Howell High School, she was a cheerleading captain and prom queen.

Last year, she landed a role as Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" at a Disney theme park in Orlando.

Polumbo, who hopes to act on Broadway, won the only two pageants she had ever entered - the Miss Seashore Line pageant last year and Miss New Jersey last month.

Contact Rita Giordano at 856-779-3841 or rgiordano@phillynews.com.

This report contains material from The Associated Press.

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