A transgender woman has been crowned Miss Nevada USA — for the first time in the pageant’s history.
Kataluna Enriquez, 27, who only began competing last year in cisgender pageants, was named the winner Sunday in the competition at the South Point hotel-casino in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“One thing that is important for me is inclusivity, diversity and representation. It’s something I did not have growing up and is still lacking in today’s world,” Enriquez said.
“Today I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I’ve learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than,” she continued.
She beat out 21 other candidates to represent Nevada at the Miss USA pageant that will be held on Nov. 29, the outlet reported.
Enriquez — who previously was crowned Miss Silver State USA in March — competed in several gowns that she designed herself, including a shimmering number with rainbow sequins.
“I did not always have money and it’s hard for women to find dresses that fit their bodies,” she said. “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 said that she joined the competition to share her story and show that she’s more than “just a body.”
“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,” she said.