When Karen Stallings walked off the stage after competing in the Miss North Carolina pageant in June 2017, she could not have imagined she would get to return one year later.
After all, there was a cutoff age of 24 for competing.
But then the Miss America organization raised the age to 25, setting in motion the Fremont native's efforts to participate in the scholarship pageant.
Last weekend she was crowned Miss Greensboro 2018, allowing her to advance to the state contest this spring.
The 24-year-old was Miss Spivey's Corner 2017 but her involvement in the pageant circuit dates back even further.
In 2012, she was Miss Daffodil in her hometown.
A 2011 graduate of Charles B. Aycock High School, she received a bachelor's degree in applied sociology from East Carolina University in 2016. She is currently a ninth-grade English teacher at her high school alma mater.
She also has a connection to the Miss Goldsboro pageant, in addition to having been a contestant in last year's pageant. She said her great-grandmother, the late Miriam Creech, was the first Miss Goldsboro, in 1932.
Her parents are Barry and Olivia Stallings. Her father pastors Pleasant Grove Original Free Will Baptist Church.
Karen's talent is in vocal performance.
Her platform is The RISE Movement, an acronym for the character traits that lead to building confidence -- respect, integrity, strength and empowerment.
The Miss North Carolina competition will be held in Raleigh on June 23.