Teen pageant winner decrowned after dyeing hair brown

Olivia O'Neil holds up a photo of her short reign as a blond Miss Teen Wanganui (center). Photo courtesy of New Zealand HeraldOlivia O'Neil holds up a photo of her short reign as a blond Miss Teen Wanganui (center). Photo courtesy of New …Fifteen-year-old Olivia O'Neil recently won the title of Miss Teen Wanganui, but her reign was short-lived. According to The New Zealand Herald, Facebook photos surfaced of her newly dyed brown hair (she was blond when she was crowned), and pageant organizer Barbara Osborne was incensed. "Is that a wig?" Osborne wrote. "I hope it is, don't give me heart failure."

Photos: See Olivia with her blond hair and crown

Olivia admitted that she had in fact dyed her blond hair dark, and said that if she wasn't allowed to dye her hair, then maybe pageant life wasn't for her. "Well you better decide, miss. Hand over your crown with an attitude like that. I'm sure someone will step into your place with manners," said Osborne, adding that O'Neil "would not go far in this world."

Flashback: Miss USA contestants create controversy

Olivia O'Neil pre-dye. Photo courtesy of Miss WanganuiOlivia O'Neil pre-dye. Photo courtesy of Miss WanganuiOlivia gave up her crown and went straight to the Herald. "I don't think you can tell a 15-year-old that they aren't going to go very far in life," she said. "It's hurtful. She was always really harsh on the girls. And when she says things like 'present yourself better,' 'wear lots of makeup,' 'do 20 sit-ups,' it gets to you after a while."

Pageant spokesman Jevan Goulter confirmed with The Herald that her crown was stripped because of the hair dye. "The expectation in holding the crown [was] that she maintain the image she had when she won it," said Goulter. But is that an expectation or a clearly stated rule? He insisted that O'Neil's claims of harsh treatment behind the scenes are an exaggeration. "In a beauty pageant, it's not about sugar coating and providing lip service to the girls. They should be treated the same way as in any other beauty pageant in the world."

We reached out to Jevan Goulter ourselves for a comment on O'Neil's standing. He responded, "I would like to make very clear that Olivia never had her crown taken off--she gave it back. The organization never removed it from her." Goulter continued, "It was never about her changing her hair color. It was about the attitude and the communication breakdown." He said the pageant has offered Olivia and her father the opportunity for a live television debate to discuss the matter. "We would like to see them accept this offer if they are completely confident about everything that they have said."

What do you think about Osborne's alleged treatment of O'Neil and the other pageant girls? Do you think Olivia's actions warranted her giving up her crown?
[NZ Herald]

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