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The new ‘Miss Utah’ is the first bisexual candidate to join the Miss USA pageant for more than 60 years

Emma Powys Maurice January 22, 2020
Miss USA: Meet the pageant's first bisexual candidate for over 60 years

Miss Utah 2020 is the model Rachel Slawson, a mental health advocate and a queer woman.(Instagram/@saltyrachel)

The bisexual model Rachel Slawson been crowned Miss Utah 2020, making her the first openly bisexual candidate to win a spot in the prestigious Miss USA pageant for more than 60 years.

The beauty pageant was owned by Donald Trump from 1996 to 2015, and is now broadcast by Fox. The show has faced criticism in recent years for its lack of diversity.

Miss USA’s executive director, Shanna Moakler, told the Blast that she is “extremely proud” to have a titleholder representing the LGBT+ community.

But it seems Slawson’s main focus will be on mental health, as she is already using her new platform to spread awareness by drawing on her own battle with bipolar disorder.

After she won the title she shared a candid Instagram post explaining why the title of Miss Utah means so much to her in light of her previous struggles.

“The last time I tried to end my life I was 19 years old, and it was the night I lost Miss Utah USA. ‘Why wasn’t I enough?'” she wrote.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rachel Slawson (@saltyrachel) on

“This is my 7th pageant, my 5th time competing at Miss Utah USA, and tonight I finally experienced hands down the biggest dream of my life.

“After a few trips to the psych ward, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder (the reason I had such an extreme reaction to losing a pageant) and finally coming to terms with who I am as a queer woman.

“And the only difference between tonight, and the night I left broken hearted wishing I wasn’t alive, is that I knew I was enough before I arrived.

She continued: “I am so grateful for this crown. And I promise to do right by Utah and spend this year sharing my truth.

“But if I’m being honest with you, this crown is a new job, not an answer to the question I spent the last nine years asking. ‘Why am I even here?’ I am why.”

She also included information for a suicide helpline, adding: “Remember you are always worthy of help, and you are worthy of your biggest dream.”

More: bipolar disorder, mental health, miss usa pageant, Miss Utah, Rachel Slawson

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