For the first time in the history of the competition, a transgender woman has been crowned Miss Nevada USA.
Catalunya Enriquez, 27, who only started competing in the cisgender pageant last year, was named winner on Sunday at the competition at the South Point Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. Reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“The one thing that’s important to me is inclusivity, diversity and representation. It’s something I didn’t grow up with and still lacks in today’s world,” Enriquez said.
“Today I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I have learned that my differences don’t make me less than anyone, it makes me more than they are,” she continued.
She beat out 21 other candidates to represent Nevada at the Miss USA pageant on November 29, the outlet reported.
Enriquez — who had previously been crowned Miss Silver State USA in March — competed in several gowns she designed herself, including a shimmering number with iridescent sequins.
“I didn’t always have the money and it’s hard for women to find clothes that fit their bodies,” she said. “Pageantry is so expensive and I wanted to compete and grow and develop skills and be able to make gowns for myself and other people.”
Enriquez said she joined the contest to share her story and show that she is more than “just a body”.
“With Tamasha, people think it is only about beauty. But it’s how you present yourself, what you advocate for, what you’ve done and what your goals are,” she said.