MINNEAPOLIS — Rachel Evangelisto is still on cloud 9.
"It's awesome, surreal, amazing and overwhelming. My life has literally changed overnight," said Evangelisto.
The 25 year-old won the Miss Minnesota title over the weekend, making history as the first Indigenous woman to wear the crown.
"I've been competing since I've been 13 years old and never have I seen someone that looked like me or represented my tribe or culture," she said. "I know what a difference it would've made to me."
Rachel's a member of the Standing Rock Tribe and said she is going to use her platform as Miss Minnesota to expand her reach as a role model.
Besides making appearances across the state and working as a Native youth advocate in the Twin Cities, she's also getting ready for her next competition in December.
"I'm really excited as a Native American person to go to (the) 'Miss America' (pageant), which is on Native American land and bridge the connection that they need. I'm really looking forward to that opportunity," she said.
The "Miss America" pageant will be held at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Rachel will be attending the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in the fall of 2023. She has already earned $23,000 to further her education through the Miss America Scholarship program.
Watch more local news:
Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities in our YouTube playlist: