Not only is Kataluna Enriquez known for her beauty, but she's breaking down walls and making history! Kataluna is a trailblazer for the LGBT community by being the first openly transgender woman to win the Miss Nevada crown and compete in the Miss USA pageant. We had the pleasure of speaking with her and discussing how important a good self care routine is and how she takes care of her mental health.
Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start competing in pageants!
At first, pageantry was something that I viewed as objectifying women. Then, I learned from a contestant, Miss Universe Philippines, how she didn’t have much growing up and that story resonated with me. I thought, “Wow, this woman has gone through so much and not only is she beautiful physically but she is beyond that”. I’ve learned from these women - their stories, what they’ve been through, who they are - and that’s why I love the Miss Universe organization because they get to showcase that and redefine what it means to be beautiful, and what it means to be evolving that, and that’s something that I wanted to be a part of.
For me, as a trans woman, I didn’t have much representation growing up. I’ve dealt with many things in life - from bullying, struggles with my mental health, I am a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, and I didn’t have much growing up. For a long time after we first moved to America I had one pair of shoes, we barely had anything, and I know my story is so impactful for so many people because I am able to rise from so much hardship and live through so much adversity. I am strong, and I am able to thrive and inspire people.
You recently took home the crown for Miss Nevada, what was that moment like for you?
They were announcing the first runner-up and I thought, “Please don’t say my name!” because I worked so hard and wanted to win! But I was also hesitant, as the other girl was also Filipina and she’s gorgeous. I am so thankful that the stars all aligned, and it was my destiny. It’s about time that our voices are highlighted - not just as a trans woman but as a person of colour.
What are you looking forward to most with Miss USA 2021? What are your hopes for the event, besides winning the pageant?
Meeting all the other girls! I know it’s going to be a huge event, and I know just me being there is going to be impactful for so many people. If I can touch peoples hearts back home, or LGBTQ+ youth and give them hope that it’s okay to be themselves, and it’s okay to not be okay sometimes, and it’s okay to be unique and celebrate yourself.
Tell us more about how you started KatalunaKouture - when did your passion for design start?
I started when I started my pageantry journey! I didn’t have a lot of money growing up, and I had to make things since I could not afford my own gowns, and I couldn’t find anything that fit my body. I have a degree in fashion design, and I was always interested in fashion since a very young age. It was kind of meant to be. I’ve learned that a lot of women like myself have a hard time finding something that fits them with their body type. In the fashion industry, we have to pay attention to more than one kind of body as it’s not the reality of life in general.
You are an advocate for trans visibility, diversity, and mental health, and with activism you need to take time to rest and heal. What are your daily practices to ensure that you are taken care of?
I have one tiny note on my mirror for my daily self affirmations. It’s three things that I love about myself, three things I forgive myself for, and three things I would like to work on. For me it is a practice of self awareness and self love, but also forgiving myself! It’s why I started my hashtag #BeVisible, to talk about vulnerability. Oftentimes people use our vulnerable moments to shame us, to dehumanize us, and use it against us - but in reality, it’s what makes us people, makes us connect, and what allows us to be normal. When you are constantly creating a conversation, even if it’s just with yourself that it’s okay to not be okay, and that you are taking care of your mindset, you create a positive space for you and everyone around you.
What is your self care routine and what are your favourite products?
This is something I still struggle with, I love the hustle and I love to work and improve myself. But sometimes you need a break - so usually I would snack on my favourite junk food, go out for dinner to treat myself. As a beauty queen, I know it is very glamorous but I just really love having a day of no makeup, no expectations, not trying to fit into a standard of what it means to be beautiful.
In terms of beauty products, I love a good face wash - not too strong, more natural. I love glam, but there is no better feeling than washing all that makeup off and just being yourself in your glowing skin and just embracing your natural self. I love that the most!
What is your best-kept beauty secret?
Cleanliness! I know it doesn’t sound like a beauty routine or a beauty secret, but when you have a clean, healthy mind, spirit, diet, and home - everything else just flows naturally. You have to put effort into taking care of yourself, so having a clean environment is important.
If you could create your dream scented candle, what would you include?
It would be something that gives me a vibe that is moon-like, sparkly, dreamy, rosy, and magical! Something that puts me in a mood of, no matter where you are in the world, you can enter a space and feel powerful, magical, and beautiful. And I’d add glitter, I love glitter!