First openly bisexual contestant to compete in Miss USA pageant in 2020

Rachel Slawson (Photo: Getty Images)
Rachel Slawson (Photo: Getty Images)

Johannesburg – Though the world of pageants may still seem old-fashioned to some, many competitions around the world are taking positive strides in an effort to become more inclusive. 

In 2018, the first transgender contestant, Angela Ponce, competed for the Miss Universe title, and in 2019 the Miss South Africa pageant was more diverse than it had ever been before, with Sibabalwe Gcilitshana taking part as the competitions first openly queer participant. 

And now, according to NBC News, Miss USA will see its first openly bisexual contestant compete for the 2020 crown. 

25-year-old Rachel Slawson recently took home the Miss Utah USA title, making her eligible to compete in the Miss USA pageant later this year. 

Rachel told the American broadcaster that she was "shocked" that she won the competition after hearing "no" so many times. 

Sharing a post on her Instagram account after her victory, the beauty queen opened up about her struggles, which included attempting suicide at the age of 19, and later being diagnosed with bipolar Ddsorder. 

"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?' 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 [sic]," she wrote. 

Rachel said it was due to her bipolar disorder that she had "such an extreme reaction to losing a pageant". 

She wrote that it was her diagnosis and "finally coming to terms with who I am as a queer woman" that helped her move forward and eventually conquer the Miss Utah USA stage. 

"I am so grateful for this crown. And I promise to do right by Utah and spend this year sharing my truth," she added.