For Miss Texas 2017 Margana Wood, her path to the crown started with disappointment on the same stage a year earlier.

"I was first runner-up. And that's a really tough position to be in. You come so close to winning your dream job," said Wood during a sit-down interview after an appearance with lawmakers at the State Capitol.

The sting of defeat still fresh in her mind, Wood prepared herself for the possibility of falling short once again.
But as each round passed, she eventually found herself as one of the final two women on stage.

"I said 'she's going to be an amazing Miss Texas.' And then they called my name," Wood said, the amazement washing over her face as she retold the story.

Many see the final result of the glitz and glamour, but Wood's struggles growing up are what led her to this competition.

"In middle school, I had been severely bullied. And for me, I needed to find a channel to express how I was feeling. And for me, rather than mope around in my bedroom, I wanted to do something about it to be a voice for change," explained Wood, who was encouraged to join the pageant competitions through her dance teacher.

With her newfound platform, Wood is advocating an anti-bullying initiative.

"To have that privilege to share that message, and to be a role model for young girls and even young boys," said Wood, who studied Corporate Communications at the University of Texas.

Wood represented Travis County in the Miss Texas competition and hopes to continue her education.

"Last year, I was able to pay off my final year at UT. And this year, as Miss Texas, I was awarded over $20,000 that I can now spend on continuing to advance my education, pursue my Masters, a PHD perhaps," said Wood.

While the goal is taking home the Miss America title, just making it to the stage is incredibly difficult.

"(Miss America) CEO and President Sam Haskell... threw out some crazy statistic that I couldn't believe, but when you think of it, it is true. It's more rare to have a daughter that will walk across the Miss America stage than it is to have a son play in the Super Bowl," said Wood, who has been touring the state since taking home the Miss Texas Crown.

Prior to capturing Miss Texas, Wood won Miss Texas Outstanding Teen.

In the pageant's 95-year history, there have been three Miss America winners representing Texas: Jo-Carroll Dennison (1942), Phyllis Ann George (1971) and Shirley Cothran (1975).

And if she can bring the crown back home, all the better.

To read more about Margana, click here.