Who is Kataluna Enriquez? First Openly Trans Woman to Compete for Miss USA

On Sunday, Kataluna Enriquez became the first transgender woman to win the Miss Nevada beauty pageant, which was held at the South Point hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

The 27-year-old will be the first openly trans woman to compete for the title of Miss USA this November.

Enriquez beat 21 other candidates to represent Nevada for the Miss USA competition, which takes place on November 29.

In a post on her Instagram account celebrating the win, Enriquez wrote: "My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride."

Enriquez's historic win was marked during Pride month, which usually takes place in June in the U.S. The month sees a series of marches, parades and other events held to recognize and celebrate the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary and queer) community.

Who is Kataluna Enriquez?

CNN Philippines reported Enriquez is a Filipino-American transgender woman.

According to her Instagram account, she is also a gown and costume designer.

If Enriquez wins the Miss USA contest in November, she will be the second trans woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant after Spain's Angela Ponce in 2018.

Back in March, Enriquez won the Miss Silver State USA pageant, which is a preliminary competition for the Miss Nevada contest.

Las Vegas' KVVU via CNN Newsource reported Enriquez was the first transgender titleholder to be crowned Miss Silver State USA.

The Las Vegas-Review Journal reported she began competing in transgender pageants in 2016, when she was working as a fashion model. In 2020, Enriquez began competing in cisgender pageants.

Enriquez told KVVU that she "didn't have the easiest journey in life," having struggled with physical and sexual abuse as well as 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.

She told the Las Vegas-Review Journal: "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," she explained.

Enriquez told KVVU: "Don't let your differences determine what you're capable of."

She added the differences are what makes one unique "and you are capable of anything as long as you believe in yourself."

Transgender beauty queen Kataluna Enriquez in California.
Kataluna Enriquez attends the TransNation Festival Closing Gala in Los Angeles in October 2017. On Sunday, Enriquez became the first transgender woman to win the Miss Nevada beauty pageant. Unique Nicole/Getty Images