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August 11, 2016

Former Miss Teen NJ discusses her (short) time on 'Dating Naked'

Alexa Brunetti was worried about how she'd be portrayed on the VH1 show

Reality Television Pageants
07252016_Alexa_Brunetti_BH Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Alexa Brunetti, who won the Miss Teen New Jersey USA pageant in 2009, will appear on the VH1 program 'Dating Naked' in August 2016. The Brigantine resident worries how people in her small hometown will react when they see the show, but is 'comfortable in my own skin.'

In July, former Miss Teen NJ Alexa Brunetti sat outside a café in Brigantine and spoke about not only the life path that led her toward an appearance on the VH1 show “Dating Naked,” but her fears over how she’d be presented on the show — and how her hometown would react after seeing it.

She shared details that couldn’t be made public until after the show aired, a cable-television event that came to pass Wednesday night.

Like how the long voyage from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to Tahiti to Bora Bora left her exhausted.

And how she was worried about standing out because she doesn’t have your typical Hollywood/“Barbie” body type.

And how her pageant history — with ties to an event once helmed by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — could turn her reality-show experience into some sort of political story.

And how a couple of drinks would leave the infrequent tippler passed out on the bed, her fake eyelashes nowhere to be found and her bathing suit soaking wet in a villa where she’d proceed to lock herself in the bathroom.

And how, considering one of the male contestants on the dating show that sees its cast strip naked in front of the cameras was also from the Garden State (Lance from Lavallette), she could then be presented as a typical Jersey Shore lush.

“A girl dared me to chug — and I don’t drink, fitness-wise — tequila. I was like, ‘OK, I’m not going to look like a baby on TV,'” she laughingly recounted during that interview. “I was gulping it, literally in one breath, so I’m looking like a tough girl!”

After speaking with other contestants, she thought editing might knock the “some of them are so sweet and nice” quote out of her assessment of Jersey men, leaving only the “they’re douchey, muscle juiceheads” line for the public to hear. (“I should’ve known that if I said something bad, they’d use it,” she explained of something that luckily didn't come to pass.)

Yes, she was worried about becoming a “ditzy drunk Jersey girl,” Snookie circa 2016, particularly because — looking back — the experience was such a blur, not because of the alcohol but due to the frenzied pace of her two-day experience in Bora Bora.

“You never know how you’ll act until it actually happens to you. I went into it being my genuine true self. I was going to be the confident girl, but then I got so quiet that I said, ‘Lex, this is not you,’” she said. “There were times [when] I froze, tensed up and didn’t know what I wanted to say. Oh my God! It was so awkward, and I’m not an awkward person.

“I did cry on the way back. Subconsciously, I think it was because I lost and don’t like losing and that I’m a fair-game player. … For me to be sent home like that, they [producers] had to know I wasn’t going to stay from the start.”

Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Alexa Brunetti, who won the Miss Teen New Jersey USA pageant in 2009, will appear on the VH1 program 'Dating Naked' in August 2016. The Brigantine resident worries how people in her small hometown will react when they see the show, but is 'comfortable in my own skin.'

So what happened on the show? 

Alexa first appears on camera 29 minutes into the hour-long program, stripping out of her clothes and emerging from a tree-lined beach path with dark hair flowing, smiling ear to ear and getting up on her tippy-toes to give a hug.

“Wow, you’re handsome,” she said to suitor David who, along with star Natalie for seven weeks, chooses between two new contestants to fill the “keeper” role. (That means they’ll stay for a second episode, attempting to fend off a pair of new nude daters each week).

David and Alexa go on an “Italian cooking” date. They don those tall chef hats and try to make meatballs and pasta. Well, at least they try to. 

Eggs end up dripping onto the ground. Eventually, they smear food-prep items on one another.

“I’m Italian and I have no idea what I’m doing,” she said. “I should’ve paid attention when my grandmom was cooking.”

Viewers could likely discern that she was a bit tired, but she was presented as being rather affable to the point that each admitted they were “vibing,” or connecting. David said it was “exactly what I needed at this point in time.”

With 20 minutes left in the episode, though, Alexa is shown having a drink as other contestants work through issues that carried over from previous shows. It was awkward, even if you didn't just get dropped into it as Alexa did.

Soon, we cut to a shot of Alexa passed out and David ruing the fact that this happened the night before elimination, leaving him limited time to connect.

There were no major party scenes or quotes from Alexa bashing her home state, but when all was said and done, she couldn’t overcome David and Natalie’s struggle to figure out if they should just pick one another. (As a viewer, I suspect that's exactly what the show wants to happen). Everybody but the stars would be asked to leave. 

For Alexa, there would be no third day in Bora Bora.

We caught back up with Alexa on Thursday, to get her impressions of an episode she watched at a Jersey Shore viewing party along with Lance from Lavallette.

"I was expecting a lot more [screen time] because of all the filming they did. I don't want to be picky, because it's awesome that I was picked to be on the show in the first place, but it is what it is," she said, noting that friends thought she and David did have a connection that warranted being asked back for another episode. "A lot of people are commenting on my social media, confused about why I got kicked off, and wishing I had more time. I do too, but it's show business.

"If they asked me to come back, even for one day, I'd ask when's the soonest I could go. I would absolutely do it again."