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Episode #199

Rachel Slawson

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Miss Utah Is The First Ever Gay / Bisexual Contestant To Compete For Miss USA


Guest Bio:

Rachel Slawson was crowned Miss Utah USA 2020 on Saturday, January 18, making her the first out contestant to win the coveted title. Rachel, 25, will continue on the same history-making path when she competes on a bigger stage in the Miss USA pageant this spring. Since its inception in 1952, Miss USA has never had an openly bisexual contestant, until now.


At 19-years-old, Rachel tried to commit suicide after she lost Miss Utah USA, she wrote in a candid post on Instagram just one day after winning the pageant. Rachel was crowned Miss Utah USA 2020 after competing in the pageant five times. “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,” she wrote in part in the caption of a photo from the night she was crowned. As Miss Utah USA she plans to share her “truth.”


She works as a suicide prevention advocate for the Crisis Text Line and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Rachel speaks out frequently about her own experiences, both good and bad with mental health struggles on social media. Her hashtag, #IAmWhy, promotes self-worth. Rachel has spoken about mental health at events, including the TEDxCitrusParkWomen event in California on December 7, 2019. She’s focused on breaking down the stigmas surrounding bipolar disorder and other mental health issues, which she blogs about on her website.

Show Notes


  • Introduction (1:45)

  • Early life and growing up with mental disorders (3:15)

  • Trying to commit suicide at 16 (4:40)

  • Dealing with divorce (6:13)

  • Being passionate about mental health to help (8:15)

  • Power of unfollowing on social media (12:37)

  • Visioning the future (16:08)

  • Coping with stress with eating disorders (18:15)

  • Creating a platform to help other people (26:12)

  • Being homeless in California (28:40)

  • Seeking help and finding a deeper level (37:21)

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