ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- For years, the people behind Miss America have been telling the world there's more to her than a rhinestone crown and a pretty smile.
In Miss America 2003, Erika Harold of Urbana, Ill., they have a brainy beauty who proves it.
Harold, a 22-year-old Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Illinois, was to enroll this fall at Harvard law school but put it off so she could compete in the Miss America Pageant.
Her performance in a pop quiz given to the five finalists, in which she correctly answered 10 of 16 multiple choice questions about contemporary culture and American history, and her soaring aria in the talent competition helped seal her victory Saturday night.
"You have a Miss America that absolutely personifies what this program is about and where we're going," said Interim CEO George Bauer. "The walk is matching the talk."
Harold said she plans to promote anti-violence and anti-bullying programs during her yearlong reign.
She chose the cause because of personal experience: As a ninth grader, she was bullied and harassed, both racially and sexually, and had to change schools to escape it, she said.
Harold comes from a multi-ethnic background. Her mother is part black, part American Indian and part Russian; her father, Robert, is Greek, German, Welsh and English.
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