The bio page on the Miss America website for Margana Wood, the reigning Miss Texas 2017, spells out Wood's intentions for the role clearly: "As Miss Texas/Miss America she looks forward to continuing her message of respect by encouraging audiences to embrace the notion that we can live in a judgment-free society where everyone belongs."
If that wasn't clear enough, Wood made an even more vocal statement during the Miss America pageant itself last night. And it all began with a question from one of the pageant judges, Jess Cagle.
"Last month a demonstration of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent and a counter protester was killed," said Cagle, editorial director for People and Entertainment Weekly. "The president said there was shared blame with, quote, 'very fine people on both sides.' Were there? Tell me yes or no, and explain."
Wood wasted no time with her answer, receiving applause from the audience before she even reached her final sentence: "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’ve made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and in making sure all Americans feel safe in this country. That is the number one issue right now."
And although Miss North Dakota ultimately took home the crown last night, it was Wood who captured the attention of a nation with her bold statement.
This isn't the first time Wood has used her platform to take a progressive stance. In this month's issue of OutSmart, the magazine examines Wood's platform as Miss Texas—which she's titled "You Belong: Creating a Judgment-Free Generation"—and calls it "the most LGBTQ-friendly platform of any Miss America contestant since that of Miss New York 2010, Claire Buffie, who championed queer equality."
Although she won Miss Texas as Miss Travis County, Wood is actually from Houston: the 2013 graduate of Lamar High School went on to complete her studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her degree? Communications. We'd say she's a natural.