Miss New Jersey released about a dozen embarrassing photographs of her partying and drinking exclusively to TODAY on Thursday. The blonde beauty queen claims the images were sent to pageant officials in an effort to force her to give up her crown.
“I feel sick to my stomach. I really do,” Amy Polumbo told host Matt Lauer. “You know, they’re not that bad, but they were meant to be private. And it is making me feel very vulnerable that the entire country has to see them now because of this situation.”
The photos really aren’t that bad, by contemporary standards, but they aren’t necessarily good for the 22-year-old theater major’s public image, either.
One shows a smiling Polumbo with a man she identified as her boyfriend, his open mouth over her left breast. Polumbo is fully clothed in the photo, which appeared to be snapped at a nightclub.
“This was meant to be private,” Polumbo said.
Another photo shows Polumbo, wearing blue jeans, spreading her legs high in the air. She said the photo was taken in a limousine during a birthday celebration for a friend. Two men are smiling in the background.
“We were tumbling around and someone took a photograph,” Polumbo said.
Still other images show Polumbo in various provocative poses. Polumbo is fully clothed in every image, but the photos could be viewed as contrary to the image pageant officials want to project to other young women.
A committee reviewing two packages sent anonymously to the Miss New Jersey and Miss America pageants is scheduled to meet Thursday and decide what, if anything, to do about them.
“What would you think if you were in their shoes?” Lauer asked Polumbo.
“It’s not a very ladylike manner,” Polumbo said of the photos. “But I’m not a robot. I’m also a theater major. It was a mistake with my friends, acting silly ... What I think is OK, someone else’s eyebrows could be raised.”
In several of the photos, Polumbo is depicting drinking alcohol at clubs. She insisted the photos were taken after she turned 21, the legal drinking age in New Jersey and most states.
“I rarely drink in the first place,” she said.
So why release the photos now, the day the pageant committee is scheduled to decide whether Polumbo can keep her crown?
Polumbo explained that she felt the situation was being blown out of proportion, with speculation running rampant about what the photos being used to blackmail her depicted.
“I want to end this ... It’s time to reveal them,” she said.
Polumbo’s attorney, Anthony Caruso, said he has been getting good feedback from pageant officials about his client’s future as Miss New Jersey.
“We think it’s going to be a positive decision,” Caruso said. “We are very pleased with the way the pageant committee has reacted to this.”
Polumbo believe the photographs sent to the pageants were taken from a password-protected Web page she maintains on the social networking site, Facebook.