Amanda Daley was the sporty one in high school, spending her time on softball instead of perfect hair and makeup.
But now, the 20-year-old Clifton Park native is ready for a change.
“This is my first pageant. I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” said Daley.
A childhood education major at the College of Saint Rose, Daley applied for the Miss New York USA 2012 pageant on a whim.
“I found the application online one day and applied,” said Daley. “About a week later I got a phone call that they wanted to interview me.”
One month later, she was sitting in an interview and shortly after found out she was accepted.
Daley will represent Clifton Park in the January pageant, competing against hopeful young women from around the state who are all vying for the title of Miss New York. Miss New York will participate in the nationally televised Miss USA pageant in June.
“You always hear about this one and know things about it. I just got into it because I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet new people and kind of build some self-confidence and make myself a better person,” said Daley.
Contestants are judged in three areas—interview, swimsuit, evening gown—and criteria includes character, poise, confidence and pseronality, according to the pageant website.
Daley has been raising money for the charity she’s representing, St. Baldrick’s Day Foundation, which benefits children’s cancer research.
“I found out about this charity at my college last year, we were raising money for it, and I thought it was a great charity so I wanted to do more for it,” said Daley. “Not many people have heard of this charity but its cause is very important.”
Daley is holding a bake sale on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Artique by Poncho’s at Exit 8 from noon to 4 p.m. All the money from the bake sale will go to St. Baldrick’s and a portion of Artique’s proceeds for the day will help sponsor Daley.
“There’s an entry fee for the pageant so I need sponsors to help with that,” said Daley.
So far, she’s secured 16 Handles, Artique and Christina Pfister for sponsorship help. She also found a hair salon that will help her with makeup, hair and nails.
Daley has been spending a lot of time fundraising and volunteering but preparing for the pageant itself has also been a priority.
“I’ve been exercising more and trying to eat healthier, which is very hard being a college student,” said Daley.
She’s also been getting tips from those who know the pageant world best.
“We have conference calls with one of the pageant recruiters [a couple times] a month and usually we have a current state title holder from 2011 and they share tips and give ideas,” said Daley. “I’ve also been on YouTube looking at Miss USA from this past year so I can get my pageant walk down.”
Being a beauty queen isn’t all about what you see on the outside, though.
“They have to be a well-rounded person. I think they have to be the complete package. They have to want to give back, they should want to be a positive influence and role model and have self confidence, carry themselves well,” said Daley.
Daley said she’s giving herself this experience to strengthen those very qualities.
“I definitely just want to build myself as a better person; be a positive influence and role model,” said Daley. “I definitely want to make a difference. I’m hoping if I do win Miss New York I can continue to make a difference and change a child’s life and give back to the community and New York State in any way possible.”
Miss New York USA is usually held in Albany but will take place at SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center in Westchester during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend this year.
“I’m extremely nervous but it’s a nervous excited. Being onstage, there will be stadium seating, it holds 2,000 people … it’s going to be completely different than anything I’ve ever done before,” said Daley. “It’s nerve-wracking.”
And what if she is crowned Miss New York?
“It would definitely be unreal … but it would mean the absolute world to me,” said Daley. “I’m speechless now thinking about it so if it actually happened it would be a dream come true and an amazing life-changing experience.”
Everything about Daley’s journey is being documented on the Facebook page she made, www.facebook.com/amandadaleymissnyusa2012.