Rachel Slawson entered the Miss Utah competition five times. She lost every time until January 2020, when the 25-year-old, openly bisexual contestant made history: Slawson will be the first uncloseted queer Miss USA contestant, ever.
She eloquently summed up her feelings about the win to CNN: "After years of trying to be somebody else, it turns out being yourself is what works."
Slawson may also be one of the most refreshingly frank contestants to ever walk the runway. CNN reports:
But even before she was crowned, Slawson didn't shy from the tough conversations. On Instagram, she's shared her bipolar diagnosis, a suicide attempt at 19 and her struggle to accept herself.
Her past is part of why she chose mental health awareness and suicide prevention as her primary platforms.
Slawson takes her unique position seriously, telling CNN that for people in Utah's LGBTQ community, her place in the pageant is "monumental."
The date for the Miss USA pageant hasn't been set, but Slawson will be plenty busy, touring workplaces and schools around her home state discussing suicide prevention, according to CNN.
Slawson plans on continuing her open and honest approach to having conversations about mental health and being an out bi woman, as she seeks to change the way people see pageant contestants, telling CNN that such contests still come "with an allure of perfection," but she thinks "that the definitions of beauty and perfection are expanding."
The witty and thoughtful Slawson's Instagram feed is definitely worth your time and you can keep up with what's next for her by following here.