BARNEGAT – When Alexa Daley was crowned Miss New Jersey Teen in 2020, she thought her reign would end in a year. Little did she know that COVID-19 restrictions would extend her title and allow her to further her personal platform.
Alexa, a Barnegat High School senior, is quick to point out that she has never had an interest in beauty contests. However, she first became interested in pageant scholarship programs when she was in middle school.
“I had just had my Bat Mitzvah and had this gorgeous bright pink ballgown that I really loved,” shared Alexa. “I told my mom I wanted to try pageantry and get use of my gown.”
That first competition landed Alexa the title of Miss New Jersey Junior Teen 2018 at the International Junior Miss Scholarship Pageant.
While Alexa’s outer beauty is undeniable, it’s what she exudes from inside that makes her a real winner. It all begins with the reason that the eighteen-year-old young woman first created her own charity, aptly named “Alexa’s Beautiful Blessings.”
“My Great Grandma Nora was the strongest person I have ever known,” shared Alexa. “She ran away from certain death, choosing instead the possibility of life.”
According to Alexa, her great-grandmother was just 13 years old when she bravely escaped a Nazi death squad during the Holocaust in Poland. The young teen took off for the woods as the Nazis lined up their victims near a ditch and began shooting them.
A family ultimately found Alexa’s great-grandmother in the woods behind their house and came to her aid. They were not Jewish and risked their own lives by bringing Nora the essentials of food and water.
“This generous family is the reason my great-grandmother was able to survive,” Alexa said. “It is my goal to be able to carry on their legacy of beneficence, and my great grandmother’s strength.”
Alexa started her beautiful blessings project for the first time in 2017. She began by asking her classmates to contribute non-perishable food items, toiletries, and other essentials.
The next part of the venture calls for the assembly of blessing bags and their distribution. Alexa initially brought them to homeless people in the streets of Philadelphia and New York City.
In connection with the I am Pageant competition, Alexa won the International Service Awards for two consecutive years. Her biggest reward, however, came in the knowing she was fulfilling her desire to help others.
When COVID-19 hit, Alexa added first responders as recipients of her blessing bags. She’s now actively putting together bags for Ocean County College’s Displaced Homemakers Program of Ocean County.
“I’m collecting pocketbooks and large bags for women who need to run away quickly,” shared Alexa. “They’ll include things like toiletries for people displaced from their homes.”
Alexa returned to the pageantry stage a couple of months ago and competed in the International Junior Miss contest. Although she did not place in the overall competition, Alexa won the International Junior Miss Acting Position.
The Manikin modeling and acting agency was on site of the competition and offered the Barnegat teen a contract.
The international pageant judges also recognized Alexa for her community service, with a third-place runner up award for showing a Heart of Service.
At home, Alexa enjoys roles in school theater and drama classes. She convinced her dad to make her stilts and taught herself how to use them. The stilts landed Alexa a role in Great Adventure’s Holiday in the Park.
As she prepares to head to college next year, Alexa feels sure that she’ll pursue something in the design world. She just hasn’t decided whether her interest will focus on interior design or fashion.
One thing does appear certain for the young woman who started blessing bags in middle school. Alexa plans to continue passing on her share of goodness to those who need a special touch of happiness.