Pageant Confidential: The Preparations Begin

Fresh from their state wins, 53 nervous contestants meet each other and start to learn the ropes.
9:44 | 01/13/13

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Transcript for Pageant Confidential: The Preparations Begin
road to miss america continues with lara spencer. The 53 newly crowned state winners meet for the first and only time before they head to the big pageant five months away. I'm ali rogers and I've had two years at clemson. Becoming indoctrinated into the miss america way and learning the ground rules at a schumer orientation in orlando is also a chance to size up the competition. At a meet and greet group dinner, the misses are asked to share something surprising about themselves. I won a hot dog eating con test. I can imitate a sea gull. But it's miss new jersey who steams the show. a rare departure, perhaps, from the manicured image. But there's a lot of unexpected among this year's contestants. Like miss new york, mallory hagan, who still rides the subway and waits tables. Miss utah kara arnold is a scientist with a passion for biochemistry. So, this is called elephant tooth paste. Whoa! From grade schoolers to goats, meet miss wyoming lexie madden. Goats are pretty well-mannered, you can almost walk them like a dog. She takes her experience from the farm she grew up on in torrington, wyoming. In miss america, you constantly want to keep eye contact with your judges. Same thing when you're showing goats. I never thought that showing goats would necessarily teach me some important lessons for being a pageant girl. And if that weren't enough, the self-proclaimed "goat girl" was also a pig wrestler. Yes, miss wyoming was a pig wrestler. This is a pig wrestling medal. 2003. That's when I started my pig wrestling career. I think there are a lot of stereotypes that come along with pageant girls. As I'm talking with crowns in the background and five of them are from pageants and the rest are homecoming. I don't know where I was going with that. Dang it. Maintaining a flawless image is critical for a miss america to be. You're very careful about your words. What's going through your head when you're carefully choosing, I'm constantly filtering what I say and what I do, because I'm not just miss south carolina. I'm ali. Pageants run in ali's family. Her mother was once a pageant queen. I was miss laurens county and now my daughter is miss laurens county, too. We have barbecue and macaroni and cheese and corn and potato souffle and here's what we have for ali. That's not even fair. I'll be having that and that and that. Most of the contestants follow a strict diet. We noticed a lot of chicken and greens. I'M guessing McDonald's is probably not a large part of your world. No. I'd like for it to be. But it's not, not right now. From now until game time, every coalorie counts. MISS FLORIDA laura McKeeman may be sneaking something fried so that her coach doesn't see, but there's no hiding something else. So, I have a very flat butt and it's been kind of a problem. One of the main projects is my butt because it's very hard to make a butt not be flat unless you're doing a ton of glute exercises, so my trainer has been wonderful, where we just do a ton of glute things. Anytime I'm in a hotel room traveling, whatever I'm doing, every day I'm like, "okay, let's work this butt out." You can see it in this dress. Yeah. I did say to her, laura, you've got to do something about the fact that your butt is flat. I'm sorry, but -- I am proud of you because you're doing a great job. Coaches like mary sullivan know there's a fine line between boosting her up and breaking her down. You want to be sensitive. It's never about what's wrong. It's about what can be improved upon and made a little bit better. The nitpicking feeds into the natural insecurities all women face. Even ones that look like this. Adding to the already mounting pressure, as game time approaches, only a few short months from now. Back up in south carolina, ali rogers is also contending with a perceived flaw. Her legs are her problem area genetically, so we've got to find a way to shrink her legs and get them smaller and get them toned. A lot of people are going to look at ali's weight and say she doesn't need to lose any weight, but for a competition like this where the stakes are high, ali's got probably seven or eight more pounds to lose. Whoa! Your trainer told you, you more pounds. How does that feel to hear? It's just more motivation for me and a reminder for me that, okay, I'm wearing a swimsuit, on stage, potentially in front of millions of people on national television. That kind of puts things into perspective. And the perspective is even bigger for some, like for miss maine, molly bouchard, who lost over 50 pounds before wink her state. In fact, the very first time she ever put on a bikini in her entire life was just a few months ago on the miss maine stage. That was very scary and i mean, I still felt self-conscious, but when i walked out there, I pretended that I was a victoria's secret model and I owned the world. Confidence in every step is currency for a miss america to be, including those steps they will take on stage. Literally. On this day, miss maine works on perfecting per stage walk, with a few pointers from a former miss maine. When you put your left foot, your right arm goes out. It's very robotic. Make sure you equally bend your arms. Every woman has a -- an arm that just doesn't work well for them. I think I am tripping, literally tripping! What? What does not come naturally for miss maine comes easily to miss wyoming. Great. Okay. The only thing I would say is, make sure that each pose you make has a purpose. Okay. Okay? I mean, it doesn't really, i mean, it's just a pose, you know, but the more intent you have behind everything you do, the better it's going to come off. As the training, the dieting and the scrutiny continue, 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. For her year as miss south lina, ali's put up in a gorgeous apartment. She's given a wardrobe and a car. I like to brag on my truck and my car sponsor but I realize that not every girl gets a car sponsor. I wanted a truck since I was a little girl and so this is, like, my dream truck. Do you think that south carolina has an advantage over the other states that don't have the resources? I don't think when it comes to competing for miss america that the resources for the job itself during the year matter at all. Once I won miss wie way, i was only given two sponsors. We do not have a fuel sponsor, a car spore son, a wardrobe sponsor. Miss wyoming struggles to come up with the money to finance her miss america journey. Today, lexie is getting ready to bring in some cash with a fund-raiser in her hometown in wyoming. Whoa. Wyoming wind. Her mother plays stylist. Turn around and face me. I can't see if it's straight. Here we go. Her father is an auctioneer by profession. Attendance is big. Even her former rivals are here to support her. They are two of the seven ladies she competed against to become miss wyoming. Holy cow. Sometimes it gets stressful. So truly thankful to have all of you here. The event is a huge success, bringing in over $44,000. That's more than the average annual salary here in wyoming. That's a lot. Wow. That's so much. Oh, my goodness. My pleasure. Thank you. Very good. Very successful. Yeah. Holy cow. Good morning. Getting to miss america can feel a bit like being a politician on the campaign trail. Long days, lots of appointments and mandatory charity work. Crowning up. Sash up and then we're off. Today, miss new mexico, candice bennatt, hits the parking lot at a local walmart. I know you're going to make a donation to children's miracle network today. Maybe I will. Okay. The scene is a stark reminder how unglamorous being glamorous can be and that being a beauty queen doesn't always turn heads. Even just like a dollar or the change in your pocket? Sometimes I'm invisible with a crown on. They come up to me and they're thinking, oh, she's just a beauty queen -- but miss new mexico has a little secret. Coming up, how she insures her body is pageant perfect. It has to be nipped, tucked and sucked. Also coming up, when the contestants arrive in vegas, and the not so pretty side surfaces. The daggers have come out.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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