Erika N. Harold (born February 20, 1980 in Urbana, Illinois) was Miss America 2003, having qualified for the pageant by being selected Miss Illinois 2002. Her parents are Donna Tanner-Harold and Robert A. Harold, Jr. She was a debutante at the 1997 Cotillion Ball sponsored by Gamma Upsilon Psi Society. She went to high school at University High School and Urbana High School.
Harold was born in Urbana, Illinois. She attended University High School and Urbana High School in Urbana, and later graduated from the University of Illinois as a Phi Beta Kappa honoree. In 2007, she graduated Harvard University's Law School and as of June 2008 was employed as an associate attorney at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, Illinois, but is no longer at the firm.
School Activities at University High School include
1. President of Freshman class
2. Member of Student Council
3. Member of Cross Country Team
4. Founder and President of Young Thespians of Champaign-Urbana
5. Secretary of African-American Club
6. Member of Multi-Cultural Club
7. Member of Literary Magazine staff
School Activities at Urbana High School include:
1. Member of Drama Club
2. Member of Thespian Drama Society
3. Member of Concert Choir
4. Member of Honor's Chorale
5. Member of Madrigals
6. News Editor of the Echo (school newspaper)
7. Managing Editor of the Echo (school newspaper)
8. Member of National Honor Society
9. Member of Tri-Music Honor Society
10. Vice-President of Concert Choir
11. Two-time Academic Monogram Award winner
12. Invited to National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.
13. Attended the Dow Jones Press Foundation's Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
14. Represented UHS in Japan as part of the JALEX study program
15. Two-time winner of first place rating at IHSA Music contests
16. Member of All-District Choir
17. Winner of UHS Foreign Language Department's Outstanding Japanese Language Student Award
18. Received a commendation from the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students
Her Volunteer and Community Activities in C-U include:
1. Clark-Lindsey Nursing Home activity assistant
2. Catholic Social Service special events and office volunteer
3. Yankee Ridge Elementary School cultural and fine arts program volunteer
4. Volunteer Soccer Coach with the Urbana Park District
5. IHSA Boy's Basketball Tournament volunteer
6. Prairie State Games volunteer
7. Special Olympics volunteer
8. Soloist with Martin Luther King's Day Community Choir
While campaigning for Miss America her official platform was "Preventing Youth Violence and Bullying: Protect Yourself, Respect Yourself."
Harold's ethnic background is extremely varied. On her father's side, she has Greek, German and Welsh ancestry, and on her mother's side, Native-American, African-American and Russian descent.
Harold is politically conservative, and was the Youth Director for the Republican primary campaign of Illinois gubernatorial candidate Patrick O'Malley. She later served as a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention. In April 2012 it was reported that she was considering running for the Republican nomination of a seat in the U.S. Congress.