On the latest episode of The Bachelor season 24, there is one bachelorette who is going to be at the center of a lot of drama. No, it’s not Hannah Ann Sluss (though she’s also in for her fair share of drama). We’re talking about Alayah Benavidez, who so far has flown under the radar on the show. But she’s about to come to the forefront, so here’s what you need to know about this young woman vying for Peter Weber’s heart this season.
SPOILER WARNING: Do not read the last entry if you care about spoilers for Peter’s season of The Bachelor. Be warned there are spoilers about the next couple of episodes.
1. Alayah Loves Poetry
This 24-year-old Texas native worked as an orthodontist’s assistant to help put herself through school at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she studied English. According to her Bachelor bio, she also loves to write poetry.
On Instagram earlier this year, Alayah posted a poem by her friend Lucian Ovid and wrote, “Poetry is one of my favorite forms of literature, it’s so powerful even within a few lines. This one really spoke to me about the power of women, perfect for #womenshistorymonth.”
Her bio also says she loves the local San Antonio River Walk and is looking for a man “who has strong goals for the future and won’t hold her back when she wants to pursue passions of her own.” And she told the Miss Universe organization that she one day hopes to be a professor and published author. Speaking of the Miss Universe organization…
2. She’s a Pageant Winner
Alayah has competed in the Miss Texas USA pageant four times. In 2014, she was second runner-up, she was a non-finalist in 2015 and 2016, and then in 2019, she won the pageant. She went on to compete in the 2019 Miss USA pageant, though she did not advance out of the preliminary competitions.
But that is not her only pageant experience. Alayah also competed in and won the 2016 Miss United States pageant. After that win, she told the Win a Pageant podcast host Alycia Darby in a 2017 interview that she never actually intended to get into pageants, but she entered a small pageant on a whim in high school and her goal was to win Miss Congeniality — but she actually ended up winning the whole thing.
“I tried out for the pageant and I ended up somehow taking home the panel. It was Miss Helotes, it’s a small town outside San Antonio … I got so many different opportunities from just that one smalltown experience that by the time my year [reign] was up, I was like, ‘I have to do this again! I have to keep going,'” said Alayah.
She also models, posting photos on Instagram for Three Bees Boutique, Alchemia Style, Houston-based photographer Grant Foto, studio D. LeBlanc Photography out of Dallas, and Kelly Costello Photography.
In one of her sessions with Grant Foto, she writes, “Life is weird y’all… it’s unpredictable and sometimes scary, but you just need to stop thinking and let things happen, let life happen as it may.
Let go and trust in God’s plan for you and let yourself enjoy this rollercoaster called life while smiling through all of the ups and downs. Don’t take life so seriously, spoiler- none of us make it out alive.”
3. She Was Diagnosed With Dyslexia in High School
According to her Miss Texas USA bio, Alayah was diagnosed with dyslexia in high school and was told she should take remedial classes. But she says it actually drove her to “work smarter and strive higher.” It also spurred her to start her “Read the Way” campaign, to foster a love of reading in children.
“I’m an aspiring English teacher, so literature has always been super-duper important for me, it’s something I’ve always been passionate about … but as I went through school, I noticed my classmates really weren’t, so I was like how can I get other people excited about reading like how I’m excited about reading?” Alayah told the Win a Pageant podcast, adding that as she researched how big of a problem illiteracy actually is.
“One in four children actually grow up to be functionally illiterate, that means they can’t read above a fourth-grade level,” said Alayah. “I am constantly having schools contacting me and wanting me to come speak to their students … about what they can do and what’s my advice to them if they don’t really like [reading] and how they can start to like it.”
4. Alayah Supports a Number of Other Good Causes
In addition to her Read the Way platform, Alayah also works as a Team Captain for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Walk of Hope and as an MDA camp counselor. She also works with God’s Love We Deliver, Habitat for Humanity, the USO, and the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas.
But something she’s been very active with in the past year is advocating for the humane treatment of animals, both domestic and wild. Last March, she lobbied the Texas legislature about changing some of the laws in their state regarding animals.
She wrote in an Instagram post, “The statistics on wild animals kept as pets in Texas is staggering and what’s even more frightening is the conditions most live in and the harm they can cause a community. Thank you to all of our amazing State Representatives, both Republican and Democrat who came together in support.”
5. Alayah’s Bachelor Journey is a Rollercoaster
According to Reality Steve (via Reality TV World), Alayah wins the epic pillow fight that is coming up on the January 20 episode as part of the group date. She knocks out Sydney in the final round to win the tournament.
But Peter reportedly sends Alayah home anyway. When he whittles the 19 women down to 15, Alayah is one of four who are sent home, along with Alexa, Jasmine, and Sarah.
However, when Peter and the 15 remaining bachelorettes take off for Cleveland, Ohio, Alayah pops back up. She shows up at a group date where the women are playing flag football wanting to warn Peter about Victoria F. supposedly lying to him, which does not go well with Victoria F. and reportedly ends in a huge fight.
There are also conflicting reports about whether Alayah gets a rose or not in Cleveland. She either doesn’t get one and goes home, or she gets one and is sent home later with the rose rescinded. Either way, she is not part of the Top 12 women who leave Cleveland to jet off to Costa Rica.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.