2003 Miss America Pageant
Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 2003
Miss America 2003: Erika Harold, Miss Illinois
1st runner-up: Miss Alabama, Scarlotte Deupree
2nd runner-up: Miss Oklahoma, Casey Preslar
3rd runner-up: Miss Nevada, Teresa Benitez
4th runner-up: Miss Maryland, Camille Lewis
Erika Harold won the 2003 Miss America Pageant competing as Miss Illinois. The stunning brunette who is of bi-racial ethnicity, was born and raised in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with degree in Political Science and Phi Beta Kappa honors. She received her crown and scepter from outgoing Miss America 2002, Katie Harmon of Oregon.
Harold was one of the rare Miss America winners who did not win either the preliminary swimsuit or talent competitions. She was, however, later announced as a preliminary winner during one of the three private interviews with the panel of judges earlier in the week.
During the talent competition she performed and operatic aria, “Habenera” from “Carmen“. She wore operatic costuming for her classical vocal performance, a red velvet strapless gown accessorized with a black and red fringed shawl. In the swimsuit competition she wore a purple velvet bikini and clear acrylic shoes.
In the evening gown competition she wore a feminine beige and silver lace gown with spaghetti straps and a lace frill on one shoulder and matching silver toned shoes. Throughout the week of competition, she wore her hair in the popular long, below the shoulders, pageant hairstyle.
The platform issue she chose to advocate during her year as Miss America was “Preventing Youth Violence and Bullying: “Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself,” which she later stated was based in part on her own experiences with bullying in school. She was given a leadership award from the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Harold, who had been accepted to Harvard Law School, had participated in the pageant for scholarship money. According to the Miss America Organisation, she earned over $85,000 in scholarship assistant during her participation at the local, state and national levels of competition.
On an interesting note, future Miss USA 2004 Shandi Finnessey competed in the pageant as Miss Missouri where she performed on the piano during the talent competition.
Miss Alabama, Scarlotte Deupree, was named 1st runner-up. Miss Oklahoma, Casey Preslar, a preliminary talent winner for her vocal performance, was named 2nd runner-up. Miss Nevada, Teresa Benitez, the Quality of Life award winner, was named 3rd runner-up. Miss Maryland, Camille Lewis, a classical violinist who was also named a preliminary talent winner, was named as the 4th runner-up.
At the conclusion of her reign, she crowned her successor, Erika Dunlap, Miss America 2004, Miss Florida.
Harold went on to attend Harvard School of Law where she graduated in 2007. She joined the Champaign, Illinois law firm, Meyer Capel in May 2013 where she now serves an an associate attorney. In 2012, she was a candidate for Illinois’ 13th district, and in 2013, Harold announced she was running for Congress as a Republican candidate.
Erika Harold, Miss America 2003, has decided to run for Congress!