UPPER TOWNSHIP — It’s about a year later than expected, but Isabella Freund is going to Florida.
In late July, the Ocean City High School junior is set to compete in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in Orlando, after the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic. It’s just another of an extensive list of plans delayed and events put off.
Freund won the title of Miss New Jersey Outstanding Teen in 2020. With pageants canceled or delayed, she will now hold the title until January of 2022.
“For so many people, this year has been absolutely crazy,” Freund said in a recent interview. “For me, I was crowned in January of 2020, so I had about six weeks before the world completely shut down.”
After a few weeks of events as Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen, Freund went from a packed calendar, including a job, her pageant activities, fundraising for the Make-A-Wish foundation and school, to remote classes at home. She said she had to learn about flexibility and adjusting expectations.
“It was a huge adjustment for her. She had all this time on her hands,” said her mom, Ava. “She’s been really good with finding ways to keep herself busy.”
Isabella continued to make appearances, albeit remotely, and to raise money for Make-A-Wish, her social impact initiative, what pageant participants used to call her platform.