Kataluna Enriquez has a special reason to celebrate as Pride Month
comes to a close.
The 27-year-old beat out 21 other contestants to win Miss Nevada
in Las Vegas
on Sunday, and she will be the first openly transgender
woman to compete for Miss USA
Miss Nevada competition officials celebrated the historic victory on Monday with a series of social media
posts featuring a newly crowned Enriquez, a Filipina American, taking the stage at Las Vegas' South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa.
This post was shared by Kataluna Enriquez (@missnvusa) on Instagram
The fact that her victory coincided with LGBTQ Pride
Month in June was not lost on Enriquez, who expressed similar sentiments on Instagram the same day.
“My community, you will always be in my heart,” she wrote, adding, “my win is our win. We just made history
. Happy pride.”
Enriquez, who works in health care
, also posted a photo of herself wearing a rainbow-sequined gown she designed for her clothing line, KatalunaKouture.
That photo featured her sash from the Miss Silver State USA pageant in March, which is widely regarded as the most important preliminary competition for Miss Nevada.
This post was shared by Kataluna Enriquez (@mskataluna) on Instagram.
In recent interviews, Enriquez, who has made transgender awareness a part of her platform, has been candid about the difficulties she has encountered as a trans woman of color in the beauty pageant circuit and elsewhere.
“I didn’t have the easiest journey in life,” she explained to local Fox
affiliate KVVU. “It was a struggle for a moment. 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 survive, and I’m still able to become a trailblazer for many.”
Enriquez told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a separate interview published Monday that she first competed in a transgender-focused pageant in 2016 after years of working as a model, but it wasn't until last year that she entered a pageant against cisgender women
“I wanted to share my story and show that I was more than just a body
,” she said. “People
think pageantry is only about beauty, but it’s also about how you present yourself, what you advocate for, what you’ve done, and the goals you have.”
LGBTQ advocacy groups applauded the development.
GLAAD's head of talent, Anthony Allen Ramos, said in a statement to Stardia that Enriquez's achievement "sends a powerful, but simple message to the world: trans women are women."
Enriquez is now embarking on the lengthy process of preparing for the Miss USA pageant, which will take place on November 29 in Oklahoma