Miss Winona 2021 is . . .Rachel Evangelisto !!!!!!!!
On October 22nd, 2021, Rachel Evangelisto, 24, competed for and was ultimately crowned as the 75th Miss Winona and awarded a $1200 scholarship. Rachel grew up watching the Miss America competition and wanted to emulate the empowered women she saw on television. She stepped on stage for her first pageant at the age of 13 and has since been awarded over $13,000 in scholarships. In addition, she is proud to have graduated debt-free with the help of the Miss America Organization.
Rachel came to Minnesota to pursue her undergraduate degree. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris, with a degree in Political Science and an emphasis on Law and is currently applying to law school this winter to obtain a Juris Doctorate in Tribal Law.
Currently, Rachel works as an Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Guardian ad Litem for the ICWA Division of Minnesota and is an enrolled member of the Húŋkpapȟa Standing Rock Sioux tribe and is proud to represent the Winona community as it has a rich Indigenous history.
As Miss Winona, Rachel will spend her time serving the community of Winona and the state of Minnesota through her Social Impact Initiative, “Foster Care in Crisis: Native Youth in Minnesota.” In Minnesota, Native Americans account for 1.7% of the population yet makeup 26% of all child protection and foster care cases – the highest disproportional rate of any state in the nation. Similarly, Native American children are 16x more likely to be put into out-of-home placements than other children. For the eleven Indigenous Nations of Minnesota, this is a dire issue to address in our state and communities.
Rachel puts community & and culture at the heart of everything she does. Throughout her service, she will set out to share authentic Indigenous culture, raise awareness around the Indian Child Welfare Act, and create cultural connection programs to support Indigenous youth in Minnesota involved in child protection and foster care cases.
Rachel is thrilled to be a part of the Miss Minnesota Class of 2022. She looks forward to sharing her unique talent, Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and Social Impact Initiative at the Miss Minnesota 2022 competition on June 17th, 2021, at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN.