For the first time in the pageant’s history, the title of Miss Nevada USA has been won by a transgender woman. Wearing a rainbow-coloured sequin dress to acknowledge Pride month, Kataluna Enriquez was crowned the new Miss Nevada USA at the end of the gala, held on June 27 at the South Point hotel-casino in Las Vegas. She beat 21 other candidates to represent Nevada in the upcoming Miss USA pageant that will be held on November 29, 2021.
The 27-year-old Enriquez won the Miss Silver State USA pageant in March, a preliminary competition for the Miss Nevada USA pageant. If she wins the Miss USA pageant in November, she would be the second transgender woman to join the Miss Universe pageant after Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Enriquez first took part in transgender pageants in 2016 when she was working as a model.
With a platform of raising awareness for the transgender community, the newly crowned Miss Nevada USA will become the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant. Her road to the crown has not been that of beauty queens before her, and she contends discrimination is something she, like all transgender people, must face. “Don’t let your differences determine what you’re capable of. Your differences is anything what makes you unique, and you are capable of anything as long as you believe in yourself,” Enriquez said.
“I didn’t have the easiest journey in life. It was a struggle for a moment. I struggled with physical and sexual abuse. I struggled with mental health. I didn’t have much growing up. I didn’t have support. But I’m still able to thrive, and I’m still able to survive and become a trailblazer for many,” Enriquez said.
Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan has celebrated Enriquez’s victory. “Our trans Pinay sister, Kataluna Enriquez, made history today! She won Miss Nevada 2021. She will be the first trans woman to compete at the Miss USA Pageant!“ she tweeted.