For the first time in its history, the title of Miss Silver State USA in Nevada has been awarded to a transgender person. 27 year old transgender Kataluna Enriquez won the crown this week, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
The 27 year old winner had been competing in transgender pageants since 2016, while she was working as a model. She started competing in cisgender pageants at the beginning of last year.
“I 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,” Enriquez said.
She continued: “One thing that is important for me is inclusivity, diversity and representation. It’s something I did not have growing up and is still lacking in today’s world.”
When asked during the pageant to describe an obstacle she faced growing up, she said: “Growing up, I was often told that I was not allowed to be myself, or to be in spaces that I was not welcome. One of the obstacles I encounter every day is just being true to myself."
She continued: "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. 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.”
“I’ve been in therapy since I was 10 and I love being able to understand myself and other people’s perspectives. I’m an advocate for mental health,” she said. She also described being bullied and abused because of her gender identity dating back to high school.
She says she will now focus on her mental health and designing new gowns for upcoming pageants. “Pageantry is so expensive and I didn’t always have money. I wanted to compete so now I design dresses for myself and other people.”
Enriquez will now go on to compete for Miss Nevada USA, which can eventually lead to Miss USA and Miss Universe.