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Former Miss Maryland part of 'Freakonomics'

April 15, 2006|By CANDICE BOSELY

A former Miss Maryland from Hagerstown who has been in and out of the court system for years on drug charges appeared Friday night on ABC's "20/20."

During a five-minute segment of the show in which the parallels between beauty pageants and crack dealing were broached, Hagerstown native Robin V. Harmon, 49, talked about her experience dealing crack cocaine.

The central theme of the 20/20 episode was "Freakonomics," or, as host John Stossel described the concept, "a whole new way to see your world."

The first of several segments dealt with the notion that beauty pageant winners and crack dealers both are part of "the tournament of life," where only a select few will make it to the top.

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Like only a few women will realize their dream of being crowned a pageant winner, only a few drug dealers will become successful, Stossel said.

Photographs in the five-minute segment were shown of Harmon in a modeling photo, as well as in a police mugshot. A brief shot of downtown Hagerstown also was shown.

Harmon said on the show that she served 11 months in prison and now is living in a halfway house. The number of "fat and happy" drug dealers are few and far between, she said.

Another person interviewed said that crack dealing "foot soldiers" tend to make less than minimum wage and often cannot afford rent on an apartment.

Harmon has been arrested on several charges related to drug possession and dealing in the last decade. In 1999, she was sentenced to serve three years in prison after testing positive for cocaine use.

She was to stay off drugs after being sentenced the year before to serve a suspended five-year prison sentence.

When Harmon won the Miss Maryland pageant in 1981, she was both the first Washington County resident and the first black contestant to win the honor.

She competed in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., that year before starting a modeling and acting career in New York City.

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