Gracie Hart (Bullock) is an FBI agent who goes undercover in the fictional Miss United States scholarship program/beauty pageant in San Antonio, Texas on the lookout for a serial bomber. She is a feminist who is not traditionally attractive, and is turned into a more attractive woman going by the name of Gracie Lou Freebush, with the same tomboyish habits. She is seen overreacting to a gun-toting Texan, wearing a Tyrolean for her talent competition, much to the dismay of her mentor, Victor Melling (Caine) and the director of the competition and former queen, Kathy Morningside (Bergen), and using her on-stage talent to demonstrate self-defense techniques.
In the pageant itself Hart, competing on behalf of the state of New Jersey, was tabbed to advance to the top 10, but gets through on talent alone for the rest of the pageant; she eventually placed runner up ( Cheril won). It is revealed at the end of the movie that Morningside and her son, Frank Morningside (gone under the name Tobi