Second time’s the charm

In her second trip to the Miss New Jersey pageant Amanda Peacock is hoping to place in the top 10

Amanda Peacock is crowned Miss Northern Lakes 2019 (Special to The Sun/Richard Krauss Photography)

When asked if she had a quote to live by, Williamstown’s Amanda Peacock quickly responded with Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.”

No quote in the world could sum up Peacock quite like the Proverbs.

Peacock, who is not yet 20 years old, showed her strength last year during her tenure on the pageant circuit, competing in six pageants before eventually being named Miss Veterans Day 2018. This title allowed her a chance to compete for the Miss New Jersey crown last June, and while she fell short, she made the best of her situation.

“It went very, very well,” she described. “Unfortunately I didn’t make the top 10, but just going that week was so much fun.”

Fun wasn’t the only highlight for Peacock. Because of her work in the community with her social impact initiative “Distracted Driving Awareness Just Drive It Can Wait,” along with Miss America’s national platform “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” she was awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

With the strength portion of the Proverb covered, Peacock showed no fear during the 2019 pageant season when she signed up to compete for Miss Northern Lakes in September 2018. On the surface, it was just another pageant, but for Peacock it marked the first time she competed in North Jersey.

“I thought ‘Take a chance. Why not? Go outside your comfort zone,’ I can represent the north too, being in North Jersey and going to school up there is part of me too,” she recalled. “I went out on a whim and I won the first one I competed for, which I was very thankful for, especially after the struggle of having to compete so many times last year.”

Even though Peacock is representing a North Jersey title, she wants the Williamstown community to know her heart is here in Gloucester County.

“I’m constantly looking to help others in the community,” she said. “A goal of mine is to get involved in Williamstown, specifically so the people know who I am, they know the good I’m doing. I’m here, I’m making my mark, I’m making change, I’m influencing people for the better.”

With a new title in tow and a year’s experience, Peacock is ready to take her second crack at the Miss New Jersey crown. This should be business as usual, but a handful of things changed from last year with the pageant. For example, there is no swimsuit competition. This has been replaced with a social impact initiative statement that gives contestants 15 seconds to say something about their social impact initiative, formerly known as a platform. The second difference is the pageant will be held at Resorts Casino’s Super Star Theater in Atlantic City as opposed to the Music Pier in Ocean City.

While competing in the same area that Miss America was conceived is a unique experience for Peacock, competing in the very casino her late grandfather, John Nogrady, made a career working for takes it over the top.

Peacock pointed to a small star tattooed on her right wrist and said, “Whether it’s pageantry or just life in general, it reminds me to keep going, keep pushing.”

The star is a symbol of Nogrady’s nickname for Peacock as he called her star.

With all of this in mind, Peacock is excited to get back on stage and compete again. She is especially looking forward to the talent portion where she plans to sing “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia.

“I competed once and I was done,” she said of winning Miss Northern Lakes in September. “I’m excited to be on stage and perform my talent. When I fall in love with a song it shows, and I’m very excited to perform because this song is something I’ve been wanting to sing for so long.”

With a new song, new competition and new location, Peacock is hoping to build off last year’s competition and finish in the top 10 of 28 contestants.

The Miss New Jersey pageant is scheduled for June 12 and 13 at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. The winner will be crowned on June 15. To follow Peacock’s journey to the crown, visit her Facebook page “Northern Lakes, Northern Highlands & North Jersey,” @NorthernSchProg on Instagram, Miss Northern Lakes 2019 on Instagram or her social impact initiative “It Can Wait DDA” on Instagram and “Distracted Driving Awareness: Just Drive #ItCanWait” on Facebook.