E! Online - For the first time in the Miss USA pageant's 68-year history, this year's competition will include an openly LGBT contestant: Rachel Slawson.
Rachel, who is bisexual, will represent her home state of Utah at the 2020 Miss USA pageant next week. Regardless if she wins, the 25-year-old is "just really grateful" to be competing, she expressed. ...
"A lot of people don't understand just by looking at me or my social media or seeing national news that I have been in hospitals for my mental health," Rachel revealed. "And I have been homeless. And there's a lot of steps I have had to take to be in this moment right now." ...
Rachel's been particularly candid about what this work has entailed, including being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and "finally coming to terms with who I am as a queer woman," she wrote on Instagram after being crowned Miss Utah. ...
"For me, winning is being fully yourself," she continued. "And pageants, for me, are the perfect place to do that because they have such a stereotype of being 'perfect,' but what does that even really mean? Who is perfect? And I think, really, perfection is embracing all the things about you that make you different."
Though Rachel certainly has her hands full at the moment, she admitted on Daily Pop that she has her sights set on another type of competition in the future.
"I think that I should be the first bisexual Bachelorette," she said. "That's one of my dreams because I think the LGBTQ community needs to be represented in modern media."
Rachel continued, "And I think that if we had more examples of love stories that are diverse—especially because of my story, you know, overcoming and living with Bipolar Disorder, that's something that's so often shamed and stigmatized—if we had a Bachelorette and a Miss USA that says, 'Hey I'm bisexual. I've been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and I deserve to have my dreams come true and I deserve to have love...' I think that would make a huge change."
Hear, hear, Rachel Slawson. Bravo. Hers sounds like such a hell of a story of perseverance, triumphing over adversity and courage that it deserves to be told. Both at the Miss USA pageant and on "The Bachelorette"
Pageants have gotten a bad rap over the last few years. This noble tradition has come under fire from feminists who deride it as sexist and demeaning. The Miss America pageant has been in a state of civil war since former winner Gretchen Carlson took over, eliminated the swimsuit portion and the ratings cratered. I emceed an event that featured a Miss Rhode Island winner who told me she takes all sorts of undeserved abuse on her college campus from the anti-pageant crowd. Now with the challenge of trying to keep this time-honored institution strong, we could use a proud, strong, independent woman like Slawson. For the good of Miss USA, but also for what she represents. A heretofore unrepresented segment of the population.
Now I don't know the other contestants, obviously. So it would be unfair to hope Rachel Slawson wins because I'm sure even she would agree Miss USA should be a meritocracy, and not just all about what demographic group you belong to. Otherwise the title loses some of its meaning. It's about being the best at walking in a gown, wearing high heels with a swimsuit, performing in the talent competition and answering questions about how to solve world problems. In short, about proving you ARE the one and only Miss USA. But if she is indeed worthy, it would be history in the making.
What is not a meritocracy is "The Bachelorette." That is all about entertainment, period. And on that note, she'd be perfect. Who could possibly be more entertaining than a beauty pageant winner who's overcome homelessness, been hospitalized with Bipolar Disorder and wouldn't be limited to dating just one gender on the show? She's absolutely right. She does deserve to have her dreams come true and find love. And it would make for the best season the show has ever had and ratings the network execs couldn't imagine in their wildest dreams. Make it happen, ABC. Rachel Slawson for Bachelorette: 2021.