Transcript for Gretchen Carlson Recalls First Alleged Sexual Harassment Encounter: Part 2
We women need more women like you to speak up about this injustice. This one says, "I want to praise and commend you for your bravery and strength for coming forward and paving the way for other women who are experiencing a horrible situation." Reporter: Gretchen Carlson, reading just a small sampling of the letters she's received since becoming cast unwittingly in the role of warrior for women against workplace sexual harassment. This one really caught my eye because it's from a father. Here's what he says. "I can point my daughter to you and tell her, 'you see what this woman did? It takes courage. But this is what you must do.'" and he says to me, "So thank you. And if possible, I can only hope that the sharing of this part of your life story will encourage others to stand up and keep it real." Reporter: You've become a hero for so many women who have been sexually harassed in the workplace. And I can see you getting emotional right now. Because I never thought I was going to be in this position. You know? Reporter: For those who think they know Carlson, and followed her career, she may seem miscast. Her viewpoints typically traditional, often conservative. And then there's the fact she's a former miss America. What does that crown mean to you today? You know, it's still something that I'm very proud of. Reporter: Can you understand why some people think you're an unlikely feminist? Oh, I know, I don't like that title. Listen, I have been fighting for women my entire life. People who've known me all along know that about me. Reporter: For Carlson, step one in that fight is dispelling misconceptions, both about sexual harassment and herself. We met Carlson at her home in greenwich, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband of 19 years, high-powered sports agent Casey close, and their two children, Kaia, 13, and Christian, 11. Your life has completely changed. I guess I decided to jump off a cliff. Reporter: How did you land? Every day has been a new experience. Reporter: But to understand how Carlson found herself at that precipice, it helps to understand where she got that strong sense of self. Raised in anoka, Minnesota, a suburb of the twin cities best known for being "The Halloween capital of the world." She was, by her own admission, a very precocious little girl. Tell me about your childhood. It was an idyllic upbringing. My grandfather was the minister at the lutheran church. My dad owned a car dealership in town. My mom was the consummate volunteer. I grew up thinking that I could be anything I wanted to be in this world because my mom told me that every single night. Reporter: Faith and family, the Carlson cornerstones. And by kindergarten, one more -- violin. I love what you said about your violin. You said, "Finding the right instrument is like falling in love." You fell in love with the violin? Yes, by happenstance. I wanted to play the piano. Teacher said my hands were too small. So really it was a fluke that I ended up with the violin. Reporter: She was a natural. By age 13, playing solos with the Minnesota orchestra. And she didn't just excel in music. Carlson was also a straight-"a" student, graduating top of her class. How important was that to you to be the best? I think that's just the way that I had lived my life, was trying to excel at everything that I tried to achieve. Reporter: Her parents were thinking juilliard, but Carlson chose Stanford. It ended up working out okay because then my mom got this crazy idea. Reporter: To go for miss America. Right, and she kept saying to me, "Gretchen, 50% of your points are based on talent. You have that." Reporter: She took it on, she says, equating it with going for olympic gold. First winning miss cottage grove, then miss Minnesota. Miss Minnesota is Gretchen Carlson. Reporter: Then, at 22, in Atlantic City, she wowed the crowd with her performance of sarasate's ziguenerweisen. And was crowned miss America. Miss America is Gretchen Carlson! It immediately changed what I thought I was going to do with the rest of my life. Reporter: The turning point? This cameo on a bloopers and practical jokes show. Problem was, Carlson didn't know the joke was on her. Our next practical joke victim was not all that easy to victimize. So it was Dick Clark and Ed Mcmahon. And it was a week after I had been crowned miss America. And it was some complicated satellite system and I was just supposed to be there on stage to introduce it. Reporter: Little did she know the miss America co-hosts were in on the ruse. So our accomplices were Gary Collins and Mary Ann Mobley and they really, really made it work. They got called off the set. Emergency phone call. Gary's microphone doesn't work. Suddenly, I'm there by myself. Just introduce yourself and ad lib a bit, it's very informal so don't worry about it. And the floor director says to me, "Oh, my gosh, we're going live to 5,000 engineers earlier than we thought, in four, three, two -- just start talking." Hi, I'm Gretchen Carlson, the new miss America. They put cue cards up. Every word was 17 letters long. Then they dropped them on the floor. Gretchen! You're on super bloopers a practical jokes! When that finally aired I got calls from TV agents saying, "Have you ever thought about doing TV? If you can do that, you can do TV." So I decided to give it a shot. Reporter: But seeking the glare of television lights, Carlson says she would find something sinister lurking in the shadows. During your reign as miss America, when you were then seeking that TV job, you thought, "Okay, let me -- let me go meet with people and see how I get into this business, how I do it right." You actually had your first real encounter with sexual harassment. Tell me about that. I did. And it was a shocking experience because with this particular man he spent most of the day helping me. He made a lot of phone calls for me. And I thought, "Wow, this guy's being so nice." And we went to dinner and we were in the back seat of a car going to my college friend's apartment at the end of the evening. And before I knew it he was on top of me and his tongue was down my throat. And I was like, "Whoa. I -- this wasn't part of the deal." And I quickly got out of the car and I was flustered. And started sobbing. And I remember being inconsolable. And thinking, "Well, I'll never speak to him again." And I didn't. Reporter: Sadly, she says, it wouldn't be her only encounter. And unfortunately a couple of weeks later, the same thing happened to me again in los Angeles with a very high-powered P.R. Executive who is still a very high-powered P.R. Executive. And again we were in a car and he took my head and my neck and he shoved my face into his crotch so forcefully that I couldn't breathe. Reporter: Did you blame yourself? I think to a certain part, yeah, you think, "I must have done something." Reporter: "What did I do to invite this?"
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.