One Miss USA Contestant Is Making History This Year
Kataluna Enriquez will be the first person to do this.
The Miss USA competition has evolved a lot since contestants first competed for the crown back in 1952. As society has shifted to be more inclusive, so has the contest. And the 2021 competition is set to be another groundbreaking year for Miss USA. The woman who was just crowned Miss Nevada made history and will do so again when she competes in the nationwide contest in November. Read on to find out more about her major step forward.
Kataluna Enriquez will make history as the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant.
Kataluna Enriquez was recently crowned Miss Nevada USA after competing against 21 other women for the title. The 27-year-old made history as the first transgender woman to be named Miss Nevada USA, but Enriquez's trailblazing doesn't end there. When she competes in the Miss USA against women from the other 49 states, she will be the first transgender contestant in the pageant's history.
Following her groundbreaking win, Enriquez took to Instagram. "Huge thank you to everyone who supported me from day one. My community, you are always in my heart," she wrote. "My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride."
If Enriquez wins Miss USA, she could be on the path to making history again.
The Miss Nevada Instagram account congratulated Enriquez on her history-making win ahead of her journey to the Miss USA competition. Enriquez will have made history two times over when she competes, but her trailblazing may not end there. If she is able to beat the competition in the Miss USA pageant, she could go on to make history a third time. Should she win the Miss USA pageant, Enriquez would become the second transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant—and she could be the first to win. The first transgender woman to participate in Miss Universe was Spain's Angela Ponce in 2018.
Enriquez considers herself a survivor and a trailblazer.
Enriquez has been open about her personal challenges. "I didn't have the easiest journey in life. It was a struggle for a moment," she told NBC affiliate KSNB. "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." Although she's faced hardships, she has encouraging words for others. "Don't let your differences determine what you're capable of. Your differences are what make you unique, and you are capable of anything as long as you believe in yourself," Enriquez said.
And she makes her own dresses.
During the competition, Enriquez had a special talent that worked to her benefit—she was able to design all of her own outfits. "Pageantry is so expensive, and I wanted to compete and be able to grow and develop skills and create gowns for myself and other people," Enriquez told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She showcased her dress for the finals on her Instagram, proudly writing "gown made by me." Enriquez added that the rainbow colors on the dress were "in honor of Pride Month and all of those who don't get a chance to spread their colors."