“What is impossible simply has never been done.”

That’s the mantra that guides Kataluna Enriquez (she / her) through life. And it was especially true when she made history as the first openly transgender woman to compete in a Miss USA pageant.

Here, we asked the 28-year-old how her life has been since winning the Nevada crown, how she deals with a rough mental health day, and what makes her feel like the queen she is. 👑

You’re a Miss USA contestant, healthcare administrator, advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and the owner of Kataluna Kouture. Do you ever just take a second and think, “What even is my life?”
Being all those things can be challenging and takes up most of my time. I’ve had plenty of crying moments throughout the day and at times, I ask myself that very question. For the most part, my success and drive are rooted in not being able to live and express myself freely as a child. The trauma I’ve lived through is now the force behind my excellence, and how I navigate my emotions allows me to be grateful and fill my days with passion.

How would you describe self-care and what does it look like for you?
Self-care are the moments we use to center ourselves, relieve any stress or tiredness, and, in many ways, are a key for gratefulness. It can be a struggle for me, since I grew up in a household where it didn’t exist at all. It took a lot of work to normalize and prioritize self-care and see it as an option. When I do give myself some time for it, it usually looks like: staying in bed, laying for an hour in a warm bath, taking a walk somewhere new, eating spicy chips while watching Disney, writing letters, or getting a massage.

What’s 1 thing you consider to be self-care that you do every day?
Positive affirmations. On my mirror, I taped a note saying, “What are 3 things you are proud of, 3 things you forgive yourself for, and 3 things you want or will work on?” I do this normally before bedtime and more often when I can tell my mental state is not at its best.

If you’re having a rough mental health day, what do you do?
If I’m having a rough mental health day, typically I allow it to happen naturally. If I can continue through the day and put on a fake smile, then I do so, but if I need a cry, then I also do so. I also spend time alone or talk to people I know I can rely on.

And who are those people?
My friends, my Silver State team, my boyfriend, and my social media supporters are some of the people that keep me at my best and are my driving factor to success. And carbs. Lots of them—cakes, french fries, mochi donuts, and milk tea.

And most importantly, what’s your coffee order?
I actually don’t drink coffee. But when I do feel fancy, I tend to go for an iced matcha green tea, blended with a little chai latte and almond milk.