OAKBROOK TERRACE – Andrea Fritz of Schaumburg, Miss Chicago, was crowned Miss Illinois on Friday night.
Alexandra "Alli" Harold, 21, of Urbana was second runner-up, one place higher than she finished in last year's pageant. Last year, she was third runner-up to her older sister, Erika Harold.
Erika Harold went on to become Miss America. She was on hand at the Drury Lane Ballroom for this year's state crowning.
"It was just not meant to be," said Robert Harold, the father of both women.
For her question as one of the final five, Alli Harold was asked, "If you could travel back in time, when would it be?"
Alli answered, "Back to the year my parents got married. I am so impressed with all they have been through because they are of mixed heritage."
At the end of the evening Alli's mother, Donna Tanner-Harold, said, "I was so touched by that. Alli's such a sweet and thoughtful person."
Alli's boyfriend, Henry Domercant, stood by with a consolation bouquet of red and white roses. He said he had lost this week too, because he was not selected in the NBA draft. He was a star basketball player at Eastern Illinois University, from which they both graduated this year.
The first runner-up Friday night was Nicole Lund of Chicago, Miss Iroquois County. Third runner-up was Meganne Britton of Naperville, Miss Western Suburbs, and fourth runner-up was Heidi Ekstrom of Mundelein, Miss Kane County.
Alli Harold's talent for the Miss Illinois Scholarship Program/Pageant was singing "Reflection," a song from the Disney movie "Mulan."
She entered this year's state contest to compete on her own merit – not mentioning in her biography that she is the younger sister of the reigning Miss America.
This year, she entered the last local pageant, Miss Lincoln Trail, in Robinson. She won that in May, which gave her the invitation to participate in the state contest.
Erika Harold also was Miss Lincoln Trail before she became Miss Illinois last year. When Erika became Miss America, the first runner-up in the state pageant, Michelle LaGroue of Naperville, became Miss Illinois.
Both Harold sisters dislike being labeled as "beauty queens." They call the pageants they have entered a source for scholarship money and emphasize that beauty contests are not their main focus in life.
Alli Harold majored in television broadcasting. She already has experience as a reporter and anchor for WEIU public television in Charleston. Next, she wants to go to graduate school.
During the state scholarship program, Alli Harold made her platform her interest in youth mentoring. She has been a Big Sister to an elementary school girl in Mattoon for two years.
Alli calls her older sister, Erika, her mentor and best friend.
Both sisters have been speakers for Project Reality, a Chicago-based abstinence-education organization.
The Harold sisters' younger siblings, sister Anastasia and brother Nich, are more interested in sports than pageants.
Their mother is a counselor at Parkland College, Champaign. Their father owns a satellite dish installation company.
You can reach Lynda Zimmer at (217) 351-5224 or via e-mail at email@example.com.