Miss USA’s First Transgender Contestant Only Asked About Transition

  • Miss Nevada, Kataluna Enriquez, was Miss USA’s first transgender contestant.
  • Enriquez told Yahoo Life she was only asked about her transition during the interview last month.
  • She added that other contestants were asked about politics and climate change.

Kataluna Enriquez, Miss USA’s first transgender contestant, said she was asked about her transition and no other topics during the closed-door interview portion of the competition, Yahoo Life reports. 

Enriquez, 27, was crowned Miss Nevada in June before going on to take part in closed-door interviews for the Miss USA pageant in November, according to the publication. Enriquez did not advance beyond the interview portion, in which the top 16 finalists were chosen.

Speaking to Yahoo Life’s Beth Greenfield, Enriquez said she was “shocked” to have not placed in the competition.

“But I was more disappointed because I worked so hard for it,” she said. “I think they were just not ready.”

She also said that her interview was focused “solely on my transitioning.”

“It was disappointing to me because I had so much more to offer, I had so much I wanted to talk about… Others were asked about politics, climate change, so it was highly disappointing for me because I expected more,” she said.

“It’s OK because we made an impact… and I received a lot of support and love on social media,” she added.

Elle Smith, a 23-year-old journalist from Kentucky, ultimately took the Miss USA crown at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Monday.

“Elle was so sweet, I’m happy that she won,” Enriquez told Yahoo Life. “She was an amazing competitor onstage and backstage, as well. Her family was so sweet to me, so welcoming to me.”

The feeling appeared to be mutual, as Smith spoke to Insider’s Anneta Konstantinides about their relationship just hours after being crowned on Monday.

“Kataluna is an absolute gem, and it was an honor to take the stage with her,” Smith said. “I see her as a trans woman, but I see her as a woman.”

“She had every right to be on that stage. She was a competitor. She’s one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. I think, for her, it was another example of important representation, and I was so proud to take the stage with her,” she added.

Representatives for Miss USA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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