Things took a dark turn at the 2020 Miss America pageant, when Pennsylvania beauty queen Tiffany Seitz opened up about her tragic past.
Recalling her childhood during a talk with People before the competition, Seitz, 23, revealed she was born addicted to cocaine, and her condition was so bad that doctors gave her two weeks to live.
“Obviously a child in that type of condition would be in the NICU getting treatment,” she said. “But sadly, that wasn’t the case for me. I was waiting in the streets, alone, while my mother was out prostituting trying to make money.”
“It’s a rotten shame,” she added, “but that was the reality for me.”
Luckily, a foster family took her in when she was a few months old and changed her life. Due to their efforts and care, she did not suffer any of the mental and physical disabilities doctors projected she would. They formally adopted her when she was 2½ years old, and she has been with them since. The husband and wife also adopted three other foster children, one who died of cancer in his 20s.
“I’m so grateful that my parents have given me so much, opportunities that I wouldn’t have had had it not been for the gift of adoption,” Seitz said. “I hope my story will inspire other people to consider doing the same thing.”
Seitz — a talented dancer — now lives with her adoptive parents, Lori and Len, in their Freeport home. In 2017, she graduated from Grove City College with a degree in entrepreneurship and now teaches dance while taking part in her Miss Pennsylvania duties. Her biological mother was killed when she was in eight grade, and she has not seen her biological father other than in a mugshot.
Seitz competed in the Miss America pageant on Thursday, December 19, at the Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. She lost the crown to Camille Schrier, a 24-year-old PharmD student from Virginia, but that won’t stop her from continuing her passion project of raising awareness about the importance of adoption and foster care.
“It’s kind of a really surreal experience to think that that’s where you come from,” Seitz told the outlet before the competition. “Regardless of what the results of Miss America are, the fact that I’ve made it this far with how I began is really an accomplishment in and of itself. I’m really, really happy to be here.”