Reporter: As 53 women vie for that miss america crown, we give you an unvarnished look, a behind-the-scenes documentary, if you will, on the road to miss america. It's a journey that began months ago.... See More
Reporter: As 53 women vie for that miss america crown, we give you an unvarnished look, a behind-the-scenes documentary, if you will, on the road to miss america. It's a journey that began months ago. In small, hometown pageants across america. Rebecca davis. Reporter: Starkly fumble begins for a grand finale. And pageant names that may not ring a bell. From alabama, miss covered bridge. And from tennessee, that country sunshine. We learn that all of these women struggle in different ways, including financially. For some, miss america is a story of haves and have-nots. South carolina is considered a pageant state because there's big funding and big resources. Obviously, way too big for just me. Reporter: For her year as south carolina, allie is put up in a gorgeous apartment. She's given a wardrobe and a car. I realize that not every girl gets a car. We don't have a fuel sponsor, a wardrobe sponsor. Reporter: Miss wyoming struggles with the money to finance her journey. Today, lexie is ready to bring in some cash with a fund-raiser in her hometown. The journey leading up to miss america, is a transformation for all of these women. Emoti emotionally, physically. And in some cases, the changes are even more profound. Miss district of columbia, allen rose will have her breasts removed after the pageant. A double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer, which killed her mother when she was 16. This is my mom in the corner. Reporter: She's beautiful. You guys look alike. I hope so. Reporter: For the talent portion of the competition, she will honor her mother by roller skating. People told me, you're crazy. No one's ever going to pick a roller skater. It's such an offbeat talent. But I'm going to try it. When I was performing my talent at miss d.C., I felt my mom in every part of my body. Reporter: Pageant confidential, the road to miss america, is a special edition of "20/20." It airs tonight. Followed immediately by the 2013 miss america pageant. It's all live from las vegas. And it is three hours of tv you do not want to miss.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.