Miss USA's First Transgender Contestant Kataluna Enriquez 'Shocked' Over Early Elimination
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The Philippines-born beauty, who won Miss Nevada in June, admits she's 'disappointed' that she didn't advance to the Top 16 Miss USA finalists at the competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

AceShowbiz - When Kataluna Enriquez won the 2021 Miss Nevada title, she was hopeful to bring the change that would signify representation of a minority in the Miss USA pageant show. However, her chance to do so was cut short when she was eliminated earlier in the November 29 competition.

Speaking to Yahoo Life after the Monday ceremony, Kataluna couldn't hide her disappointment that she failed to advance past closed-door interviews to join one of the Top 16 Miss USA finalists. "I was shocked. But I was more disappointed because I worked so hard for it," she said. "I think they were just not ready."

Kataluna said while they were asked to share their thoughts on a range of topics during the closed-door interview portion of the contest, "my interview was solely on my transitioning." She added, "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."

Still, Kataluna saw the positive side of her participation in the 2011 Miss USA competition. "It's OK because we made an impact… and I received a lot of support and love on social media," she said on Wednesday, December 1 by phone. "It was an honor just to be able to represent my community and be an example for young queer children who now know they don't need to be limited by society's standards."

Miss Kentucky Elle Smith ended up taking over the crown from 2020 Miss USA Asya Branch of Mississippi. In an interview with Insider, the journalist gushed about Kataluna, "Kataluna is an absolute gem, and it was an honor to take the stage with her. I see her as a trans woman, but I see her as a woman."

She additionally defended Kataluna's right to be on the competition. "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," the 23-year-old, who will represent the U.S. at Miss Universe 2021, added.

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