The first transgender Miss USA contestant, Catalona Enriquez, to be eliminated early

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 23: Miss Nevada USA 2021 Catalona Enriquez, the first Miss USA pageant winner, attends a ceremony in her honor at The Garden Las Vegas on July 23, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Brian Stevie/Getty Images)

Miss Nevada USA 2021 Catalona Enriquez, the first Miss USA transgender pageant winner, at a ceremony in her honor in July. (Photo: Brian Stevie/Getty Images)

When the Miss Cataluna Enriquez contestant won the title of Miss Nevada in July, prompting her to compete in the Miss USA As the first transgender woman to do so, she was happy to be a symbol of hope for not one but two unrepresented communities.

“I am a trans woman of color, a minority within a minority,” Enriquez, a Filipino, Tell Yahoo Life at the time. “I” everything is not represented in our country, and [ready] To create conversations about what it means to be American.”

On Monday, though, her chance to do so vanished when she failed to advance in the previous closed interviews to join one of the top 16 finalists for Miss USA at the big event in Tulsa, Okla. Miss Kentucky Ellie Smith winning the crown, and compete in the Miss Universe pageant, scheduled for December 12 in Eilat, Israel.

But, Enriquez, 28, who spoke to Yahoo Life by phone on Tuesday, said, “It’s a huge honor to be able to represent my community and be an example to young gay children who now know they don’t need to be constrained by society’s standards.”

As for not participating in the competition, “I was shocked. But I was even more disappointed because I worked so hard for it,” she said. “I think they weren’t ready.”

Enriquez said that while others in the competition were asked to share their thoughts on a range of topics during the closed interview portion of the competition, “my interview was only about my transition.” “It was frustrating for me because I had so much to offer, and I had so much that I wanted to talk about… Others were asked about politics, climate change, so it was very frustrating for me because I was expecting more.”

A representative from Miss USA has not yet responded to Yahoo Life’s request for comment on the details of Enriquez’s interview.

But Enriquez quickly added, “It’s okay because we made an impact…and I’ve received a lot of support and love on social media.”

The contestant said it was a relief, as she was trolled and threatened online before heading to Oklahoma from Nevada.

“While going into the competition, I was getting threats, saying I needed to prepare myself, that I was going to go into the red, that they were going to protest, so I was very careful – and every time I heard a ‘bang’ she was on high alert, and at times it frightened me. ‘,” Enriquez said of her time in competition. She ended up not seeing any protesters. She commended the extreme security that Miss USA enjoys for her safety, and noted that she only felt kindness from her competitors.

“I was really honored to meet the other contestants,” she said. “Going there, I had a lot of worries, because our country is so divided at the moment and I didn’t know how people would receive me. But once I [had] More time together, I think they learned to understand who I am as a person and a woman, and we came together, and realized that I was more than just a transgender person. “

“Elle was so cute,” she said of Smith, “and I’m so glad she won.” “She was a great competitor on stage and backstage too. Her family was very nice to me, so she welcomed me.”

But, she said, “everyone has something to offer,” and something powerful to share—from an Air Force veteran who has spoken out about his suffering from PTSD to another who was a homeless teen after leaving an abusive home. That kind of diversity—including Enriquez, as well as the first Afghan competitor to represent Connecticut, and the fact that Smith is a black woman and a local news reporter—was part of the contest’s theme.”Reimagining Festival, ‘I got it dubbed ‘wokest’ ever In some of its media coverage.

But Enriquez said it was just the beginning. “I think they tried to film it [as woke]She said, but there is clearly a lot to go on. “We can’t talk about inclusivity and empowerment without including every woman – every size and every color – and not just trans.”

She still appreciated her ability to relate on a “deeper level” with the contestants and said, moreover, “My favorite part was the costumes and the dresses, so I could see everyone through a creative lens.”

It’s no surprise that the emerging fashion designer was so fascinated by everyone’s style, that her own gown — a re-imagining of the Pride-themed dress she wore to the Miss Nevada contest, which represents more than 100 hours of work and contains more than 10,000 glittering stones — was her cut. The character of the resistance.

“This dress was representative in many ways,” she said. “She was sending a message. I don’t know how everyone greeted her, but I know a lot of people felt seen and felt heard. [through it] They felt visible, and that was one of the most important jobs I had.”

Now, even as Enriquez closes the door to the Miss Pageant and sets her sights on the fashion and entertainment industries (“something like Dancing with the Stars… ”), she is determined to carry on this work of raising the standard of others – all others.

“People think because I’m only trans, my message is only trans or LGBTQ. But I stand for true equality, which means giving everyone a chance to survive and live in a way where they don’t have to compromise themselves and can be free to express themselves.”

In her short but history-making time with Miss USA, she added, “I think I made it.”

Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Subscribe here for Yahoo Live Newsletter.

Write a Comment