Going beyond the limit

Cherokee grad is multi-talented performer with dream of making it big

Growing up, Alyssa Miles would use her fireplace mantle as a stage to put on a musical performance of “Annie” for her family and friends.

Although singing into a wooden spoon in her mom’s oversize dress was nothing more than a fantasy at the time, Miles knew one day it would become a reality. 

“My family recognized my passion and wanted to go a little farther with it,” Miles recalled. “They started to take me to see the shows at my high school and I just fell in love with it.”

After taking part in different theater productions, the Cherokee High School graduate used her extra time at home this year to hone in on her music and acting career, eventually working with an agent and winning a teen pageant.

“Charlie in the Chocolate Factory” was the last production Miles participated in before the pandemic, and it’s one of her favorites. But she continued to advance as an artist by committing her time to online workshops and productions. 

With an extra free period and early dismissal of virtual schooling, Miles had no problem managing her academics, talents and social life.  

“I ended up working with a lot of professionals in the business over Zoom, and I did a dance intensive workshop for a couple of musicals,” she explained. “Then,  my friends and I started putting on our productions with the Marlton PAC (Performing Arts Center).”

On Zoom, the girl group presented a choreographed routine and a song featuring Miles and her friends. Besides working with buddies, Miles also wrote an original song this past year that she performed during a virtual vocal competition and received offers from five record labels.   

“It’s about a breakup that I had,” she revealed. “I was dating this kid and I guess you could call him my first love. We broke up right before quarantine, which sucked, because when you hit quarantine, I couldn’t go out and about, so there wasn’t anything to distract me from being sad.”

After finding harmony, the power of musical notes played on the piano helped Miles express her emotions in a therapeutic way so she could move on.

Even before high school, the little girl singing with a mantle as her stage knew her dream was Broadway. During seventh grade Miles got a manager, and her elementary-school music teacher volunteered to drive her to New York twice a week.

The experience of having a talent manager opened Miles’ eyes to other potential careers outside of musical theater, such as on-air personality and model. 

“My lifestyle pivoted, but for the better, because I love it,” Miles explained. “I was in New York, once or twice a week for several years, whether that be just for going out and auditioning for things or for actually being in the studio and filming.”

For a young amateur seeking her big break, practice made perfect. While home in Marlton, Miles danced at Jazz Unlimited Studio of Dance Arts, where she learned a new hip hop routine, and practiced her vocals at the Music Training Center.

Her most recent accomplishment came after she won Royal International Miss Teen, a pageant held in Florida to award young women for their outstanding community service. After a year at Unicorn Children Foundation, an international nonprofit dedicated to career pathways for kids and young adults with developmental or learning disabilities, Miles now serves on the board as vice chair. 

“The main passion of my life has always been performing in theater and such, but every couple of years, I’ll do pageants,” Miles noted. “I did my first one when I was 8. In my first pageant, I placed in the top 20, but after that, I won five national titles and five state titles.”

Pageants have helped Miles develop her public-speaking skills, but they also offer her time to serve an organization that could benefit other children’s lives. 

Even with her career accomplishments, Miles decided to continue her next steps at college; she’ll attend Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania as a double major in theater and broadcasting communications, with a minor in dance. 

“I would love to keep producing more music; that’s a huge dream of mine to be doing that,” she said. “But I would love to keep performing in general in any way I can. Whether it’s through dance, if I’m on Broadway or a TV show for acting.”