McDaniel earned her bachelor of arts in journalism at the University of Mississippi and continued as a graduate student through 2010. While there she edited the Mississippi Observer and worked as a student intern for Samir Husni at Oxford's Magazine Innovation Center. She also performed as a flutist in the Ole Miss Wind Ensemble.
In September 2011, McDaniel moved to New York as an editorial intern for Parade magazine, developing lifestyle content and managing the publication's online and social media strategy. She was hired by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger in 2012 as the paper's social media coordinator. She moved to the Alabama Media Group to serve as managing editor of Birmingham magazine in April 2015 and has also worked as a digital reporter and audience strategist for the company.
McDaniel also hosts a video podcast, "No Fall Weddings" on the VSporto network, which expanded on her work with AL.com's "SEC Cocktail". She and Alabama Media Group reporter John Talty have one son, Jack.
McDaniel resigned from the Alabama Media Group in December 2015.
- Sibley, Laura (April 7, 2015) "Meet Alex McDaniel, Birmingham magazine's new managing editor."