Miss New York USA – Rachelle
Born in Palo Alto, CA and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Rachelle’s story began when she enrolled in creative dance classes with Nashville Ballet at the age of eight and making her professional debut performing the lead role of Clara in Nashville Ballet’s Nutcracker at the age of thirteen. This firmly solidified how strong her passion was for dance and performance on the stage. At the age of fourteen, Rachelle possessed such evident talent that she was offered a paid traineeship with Nashville Ballet under a six-year contract.
Rachelle had a different dream in mind though, turning down the offer in favor of pursuing training in New York and – all going well – finding a place in one of her favorite major ballet companies. The leap of faith paid off and Rachelle was accepted into all five of the prestigious schools she auditioned for, which meant uprooting her and her mother’s lives in Nashville and making the 800-mile move to New York City.
Within two years, and before she even graduated high school, Rachelle was accepted to American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School on full scholarship, followed by ABT’s Studio Company, and eventually performing with ABT professionally.
While still dancing, Rachelle made her international television debut as the principle ‘Hero Ballerina’ in a Samsung commercial directed by Mark Romanek. She was also featured in Paris Vogue with Anja Rubik and photographed by Mario Sorrenti. Other highlights for Rachelle, during her dance career, include Under Armor campaigns, SavageX Fenty: Back to School shoot and gracing the cover of major dance magazines.
Rachelle’s second television appearance was as a featured model in Randy Fenoli’s Say Yes To The Dress on the TLC Network.
What makes all of Rachelle’s accomplishments even more impressive is that since the age of four years old she was fighting a secret battle. As a survivor of sexual assault, Rachelle’s charitable work with the RAINN organization is near and dear to her heart. Part of her platform is helping other victims, so sharing her own story publicly during her first pageant was a big part of her healing. Women everywhere should know that their past doesn’t affect their self-worth or who they are.
“It’s not letting past challenges define you,” she told the New York Post in a recent interview after taking home the Miss New York crown. “I believe that my story brings hope for other people — it’s not just about me anymore. It’s about sharing and being vulnerable, so people don’t feel alone.”