Florida Woman To Be First Contestant With Autism To Compete In Miss Florida Pageant

Rachel Barcellona Has Been Competing In Pageants Since She Was Five

June 8, 2019



A woman in Florida is out to change the perception of people with a mental disorder. Rachel Barcellona, who has autism, will become the first woman to compete in Miss Florida. The competition will be held later this month in Lakeland, Florida.

Rachel Barcellona has been participating in beauty pageants since she was five. However, she took a break after fourth grade saying before picking it back up later saying, “I had depression and anxiety in middle school so then I resumed when I was thirteen and that is when I really got into it because it helped me make friends and build my confidence.”

Now Rachel is preparing for this Miss Florida pageant later this month, and she already has her dress and her opera voice ready to go. She even got the chance recently to sing the National Anthem at a Tampa Bay Lightning game.

Not only will she be competing in Miss Florida, but she also attends the University of South Florida. While many find her story inspiring, Rachel says, “I would say that pageantry is also spectrum. You have to find the right ones for you. And just go from there because it can really really make a girl more confident and empower her to be an amazing woman."