What to Know About Kataluna Enriquez, the First Transgender Woman to Be Crowned Miss Nevada USA

Kataluna Enriquez made history after becoming the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant

Miss Nevada USA, Kataluna Enriquez
Kataluna Enriquez. Photo: Kataluna Enriquez/Instagram

Kataluna Enriquez, the newly crowned Miss Nevada USA, is cementing her role as a trailblazer for the LGBTQ community.

On Sunday, Enriquez, 28, made history as she became the first openly transgender woman to win the Nevada pageant— meaning she'll also be the first to compete in the Miss USA pageant in November, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Enriquez, who previously won the Miss Silver State USA pageant, later celebrated her accomplishment in a post on Instagram.

"Huge thank you to everyone who supported me from day one," she wrote on Monday. "My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride."

If Enriquez wins Miss USA later this year, she will become the second openly transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant after Spain's Angela Ponce did so in 2018.

But as Enriquez has shared, her rise to the crown wasn't always an easy journey. Here's everything to know about the new Miss Nevada USA.

Miss Nevada USA, Kataluna Enriquez
Miss Nevada USA, Kataluna Enriquez. missnvusa/Instagram

Enriquez is a Working Woman

According to her short bio on Miss Silver State USA's Instagram, Enriquez works as a healthcare admin, fashion designer, and owns a clothing line called KatalunaKouture.

On Monday, Enriquez posted a photo of herself in a rainbow gown and revealed she had made the dress herself through her clothing line.

"In honor of pride month, and all of those who don't get a chance to spread their colors. ❤️🧡💛💚💙" she wrote of the custom dress.

She Has Competed in Pageants For Years

During an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Enriquez revealed that she started competing in transgender pageants in 2016.

At the time, Enriquez told the outlet she was working as a model and "wanted to share my story and present that I was more than just a body."

"With pageantry, people think it is only about beauty. But it's how you present yourself, what you advocate for, what you've done and the goals you have," she added.

It wasn't until the beginning of 2020 that Enriquez started competing in cisgender pageants, where she has advocated for transgender rights, diversity and visibility.

Enriquez Previously Made History

In March, Enriquez won the Miss Silver State USA pageant, according to her Instagram.

The accomplishment is believed to mark the first time that the Miss Silver State USA title was awarded to a transgender person, the Review-Journal reported.

She Has Overcome Past Struggles

While speaking with NBC affiliate KVVU, Enriquez disclosed that she is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse.

"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," she explained. "I didn't have much growing up. I didn't have support. But I am still able to thrive and I'm still able to survive and become a trailblazer for many."

"Don't let your differences determine what you're capable of," she continued. "Your differences is anything what makes you unique, and you are capable of anything as long as you believe in yourself."

Enriquez also spoke about her early experiences during a Q&A portion of the pageant, revealing that she was bullied and abused by classmates and not allowed to use either the boys' or girls' bathrooms, per the Review-Journal.

"Growing up, I was often told that I was not allowed to be myself, or to be in spaces that I was not welcome," she said. "One of the obstacles I encounter every day is just being true to myself. Today I am a proud transgender woman of color."

"Personally, I've learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than," she added. "And my differences is what makes me unique, and I know that my uniqueness will take me to all my destinations, and whatever I need to go through in life."

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Enriquez Is an Advocate for Visibility

While competing in the pageants, Enriquez has made a point to advocate for transgender rights, diversity and visibility.

"One thing that is important for me is inclusivity, diversity and representation," Enriquez told the Review-Journal. "It's something I did not have growing up and is still lacking in today's world."

She also noted to the outlet that her positive experience with therapy has inspired her to advocate for mental health.

"I've been in therapy since I was 10 and I love being able to understand myself and other people's perspectives," she told the Review-Journal. "I'm an advocate for mental health."

Additionally, Enriquez "uses her life experiences and shares it in her platform #BEVISIBLE, a campaign to combat hate through vulnerability," according to Miss Silver State USA.

"As a survivor of physical and sexual abuse and a proud Transwoman of color, she aims to break barriers and represent those who aren't always represented and continues to support numerous non-profit organizations and LGBTQ+ youth," their post added.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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