New Miss USA is actually a miss, as the competition’s first trans entry came up short in the quest to be a beauty queen

Elle Smith Crowned ‘Miss USA’ , As The Competition’s First Trans Entry Came Up Short

Miss USA is, for the moment, still a miss.

Elle Smith, who entered the beauty pageant as “Miss Kentucky”, captured the crown of Miss USA on Monday night.

She will now represent America in the Miss Universe contest in Israel. That is scheduled for Dec. 12.

According to NPR, one factor that helped Smith was that she wowed the judges during the swimsuit competition. She reportedly rejected the idea that donning a bikini would hurt her in her day job, which is as a journalist in Louisville, NPR noted.

Smith’s victory is of note because, in order to claim the crown, she had to defeat the first transgender Miss USA contestant.

Kataluna Enriquez, a biological man who earlier this year took the title of “Miss Nevada”, was eliminated before the last 16 Miss USA finalists were selected.

It’s unclear why Enriquez did not progress further.

NBC News reported that the Miss Universe pageant network, which encompasses the Miss USA competition, has allowed transgender participants since 2012.

Enriquez would have been the second trans entry in the Miss Universe pageant. Angela Ponce of Spain was the first in 2018.

NBC News noted that organizers of the Miss America pageant, which is a separate entity and arguably the better known of the two, did not reply to a request for comment about whether “transgender women or nonbinary individuals” may compete in its events.

Miss America, at least as of 2018, was open only to “natural-born women,” under its rules, NBC noted.

The rules governing participation posted on Miss America’s website as of Wednesday had one terse sentence for qualifications under the category of “gender.”

“The Candidate is female,” it says.

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