Who is Kataluna Enriquez? Everything about the first trans woman to qualify for Miss USA

Kataluna Enriquez becomes the first trans-woman to qualify for Miss USA (image via Instagram/Kataluna Enriquez)
Kataluna Enriquez becomes the first trans-woman to qualify for Miss USA (image via Instagram/Kataluna Enriquez)

Filipino-American model Kataluna Enriquez made history by becoming the first trans woman to qualify for Miss USA. She qualified for the pageant after being crowned Miss Nevada on June 28th, 2021 in Las Vegas.

The 27-year-old took to Instagram to share a picture from the event. She donned a sparkling rainbow-colored gown for the coronation night and wrote:

“In honor of pride month and all of those who don’t get a chance to spread their colors.”

The official account of Miss Nevada US also posted a picture of Kataluna Enriquez alongside former Miss USA and current pageant director, Shanna Moakler.

Enriquez competed against 21 contestants in the Miss Nevada pageant and will be representing the region in the forthcoming Miss USA finals.

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Who is Miss USA 2021 contestant Kataluna Enriquez?

Kataluna Enriquez hails from San Leandro, California and is currently based in Las Vegas, Nevada. After graduating from San Leandro High School in 2011, Kataluna Enriquez enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Las Vegas, where she studied fashion design.

Enriquez launched her own fashion brand Kataluna Kouture in 2016. In the same year, she went on to represent California in Transnation Queen USA and ended up winning the title on October 22nd, 2016 in Los Angeles.

Kataluna made it to Top 12 at Miss International Queen 2018, where she represented the US in Pattaya, Thailand. She also took part in Super Sireyna Worldwide in the same year.

She represented Hayward at Miss California USA in 2020. Last year, she began working at LGBTQ Health Care as a healthcare worker. Kataluna Enriquez came under the spotlight after being crowned Miss Silver State USA earlier this year.

She was also the first transgender woman to win the title that led her to compete in the Miss Nevada pageant. Enriquez told Fox5 at the time that the competition and victory was a “celebration of womanhood and diversity.”

“Miss Silver State was a great experience … to me it was honestly a celebration of womanhood and diversity and this celebration of being your true self.”

Kataluna Enriquez is also a rising social media influencer. Besides representing her own brand, she often collaborates with other popular brands on Instagram. She has also amassed a remarkable following on other social media platforms.

Twitter celebrates Kataluna Enriquez’s win at Miss Nevada

Kataluna Enriquez is the first trans woman to win both Miss Silver State USA 2021 and Miss Nevada USA 2021. However, her road to victory was not always easy. During her interview with Fox5, she also opened up about the obstacles she had to face before:

“I was [once] asked to provide documents that were invasive in my opinion physically asking me to get a letter from my doctor. It brought me back to time where I felt like I was not welcome.”

However, she was widely welcomed in the prelims of the Nevada pageant, ultimately winning the crown and making it to Miss USA 2021.

Enriquez’s win at Miss Nevada USA 2021 is being largely celebrated online. Several users took to Twitter to congratulate the Las Vegas native on her victory.

Mela Habijan, who was crowned Miss Trans Global 2020 also joined the online celebrations and wrote:

“Our Trans Pinay sister, Kataluna Enriquez, made history today!”

The Miss USA 2021 pageant is all set to be held on November 29th, 2021 at the Paradise Cove Theater, River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kataluna Enriquez will be the second trans woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant after Angela Ponce, if she wins Miss USA 2021.

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Edited by Gautham Balaji
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