Meet Miss Texas 2017 and Miss America 2018 contestant Margana Wood. She had just 20 seconds to tell her audience in Atlantic City, N.J. what she thinks about the president’s reaction to white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va. and she came through with flying colors.
The Miss America hopeful won the swimsuit competition, placed for Lifestyle and Fitness, and made it to the last round with the top 10 finalists. The 22-year-old from Houston’s support for those struggling through Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath also tugged at people’s heart strings.
Then came two sets of questions. As Bustle explains, the first was “humorous and casual” but the second on Sunday night was “serious and for the most part, political.”
“Now the next question will go to Miss Texas. Miss Margana Wood, come on over,” the host announced. Margana Wood was then asked to pick a judge’s name out of a shining glass bowl and got Jess Cagle, editor of People magazine. He then tossed her the kind of loaded bombshell of a question a beauty queen and Miss America contestant from a conservative state wouldn’t want to touch with a 10-inch stiletto.
“Last month a demonstration of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK in Charlottesville turned violent and a counter-protestor was killed. The president said there was shared blame with ‘very fine people on both sides.’ Were there? Tell me yes or no, and explain.”
Yikes! But far from shying away, this Miss America contestant spoke out against racism in a way that was bold and unequivocal.
“I think that the white supremacist issue, it was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack, and I think that President Donald Trump should have made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and making sure that all Americans feel safe in this country. That is the number one issue right now.”
Although Cara Mund from Utah wound up winning the Miss America pageant, Margana Wood clearly won the Internet. Here’s the video.
— Neha Chitnis ✨ (@Neha614) September 11, 2017
Morgana Wood’s opposition to Donald Trump and his racism may seem startling. But in an interview with The Slay Magazine the Miss America finalist revealed that she’s had personal experience with bullying. In fact, her pet project is her anti-bullying campaign, You Belong.
“Well, personally it’s close to home just because I was personally affected by bullying and I have a passion to speak about it,” she explained. “But it’s really important to talk about it just because I feel like everyone experiences bullying in some way or another whether it happened to you personally or whether you have a best friend who has endured bullying.”
Although Jess Cagle’s question must surely have made Morgana Wood nervous, messages of support for the Miss America finalist swiftly came rolling in.
@marganawood Perfect answer, thank you for being an example and standing up for what's right instead of being afraid of rocking the boat! 👏
— Elizabeth (@elizabeth_d) September 11, 2017
— Polly Cy (@Joulutorttu) September 11, 2017
— An Asian on Occasion (@GermanCityGirl) September 11, 2017
— Duty To Warn (@duty2warn) September 11, 2017
Here’s her photo from the night she won her Miss Texas title.
Is this real life?!? I have dreamed of this opportunity for as long as I can remember and I am honored to serve as Miss Texas 2017! Thank you everyone for your continued love and support! Tune in for the Miss America Competition on September 10th in Atlantic City! #MissTexas #MissTexas2017 #MissTexasRewind #roadtothecrown #MissAmericaTX
And here she is performing some of her duties as Miss Texas.
Image: Video screen grab via the Miss America pageant.