Fashion designer and LGBTQ advocate Kataluna Enriquez made history in the beauty pageant world on Sunday when she became the first out trans woman to be crowned Miss Nevada USA. “Huge thank you to everyone who supported me from day one,” Enriquez exclaimed in a post-victory Instagram post. “My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride.”
Her win on Sunday in Las Vegas cements her spot as Nevada’s representative in the Miss USA pageant later this year, making her the first out trans woman to compete in the event’s history.
Enriquez, a healthcare administrator who designs and operates her own clothing line (KatalunaKouture), is no stranger to the pageant scene. She began competing in 2016 but didn’t make the switch to cisgender pageants until last year. She told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she made the change to advocate for trans rights and visibility in addition to increased diversity.
“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. That goal wanting to be “more than just a body” was front and center as she captured the crown wearing a rainbow-sequined gown she designed and made herself “in honor of pride month, and all of those who don’t get a chance to spread their colors.”
But her coronation tied into Pride month in more ways than she initially realized. By winning the crown on Sunday, June 27, Enriquez’s crowning came on 52 years to the day after the Stonewall riots – a fact that Enriquez didn’t realize until days after the event.
Describing herself as a “proud trans woman of color,” the significance of her groundbreaking win occurring in close connection to an event heavily fueled by trans women of color like Stonewall wasn’t lost on her.”I didn’t realize we won on the 52nd anniversary of stonewall. I wouldn’t be able to stand without the voices of those who fought for my rights and against police brutality. Thankful to end pride month with you all,” Enriquez said.
Enriquez continues her advocacy work through her #BEVISIBLE campaign, which aims to “combat hate through vulnerability.” as well as working with organizations to support LGBTQ youth.
Enriquez earned her opportunity at the crown by becoming the first out trans woman to win the Miss Silver State title earlier this year. Her win on Sunday in Las Vegas, NV cements her spot as Nevada’s representative in the Miss USA pageant later this year, making her the first out trans woman to compete in the event’s history.