Kataluna Eriquez is a national beauty queen who is vying for the title of Miss International Queen 2018, taking place in Pattaya Thailand on the 9th of March.
She won the titles of Queen California and Queen USA respectively in 2016.
I first met Kataluna at Miss Trans Star International competition in Barcelona, in Spain 2 years ago. Her poise, charm and beauty stands out when you meet her in person.
We spoke about everything and anything from theology, gender to relationships.
She came across as a kind, friendly, respectful and giving woman, she even let me stay with her at her hotel room when I wasn’t able to book a room in my first night in Barcelona. Instantly we became good friends at a time when we were under immense pressure to look good and cat-fight for a beauty title which seemed elusive.
I spoke to her about her new journey to conquer the world at Miss International Queen 2018.
- HOW WILL YOU DESCRIBE YOUR HERITAGE?
I consider myself as a Filipino- American. I carry the blood of a Filipino, but my values and lifestyle I think fits more of an American. Growing up in California at a young age thought me to think outside the box and to freely express myself and my rights. But being a Filipino also thought me be down to earth and caring for others. I celebrate both cultures, but I say I lean more towards as an American only because I’ve been living in the U.S more than half of my life.
- IN 2016 YOU WON 2 AMAZING TITLES, HOW DID THEY CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
A lot! It has been such an amazing opportunity to be able to represent where I am from and what I stand for. I got to learn so many things that have opened my eyes to search deeper and look beyond what we see based on the trans community. I was able to meet some amazing people like Geena Rocero, Kelly Osbourne, Caitlyn Jenner, and one of the people I idolized, Laverne Cox. Before ever competing, I remember reading articles about them and how they inspired me, and to be able to talk to them, face-to-face is beyond any dream come true.’
- WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COMPETE IN MISS INTERNATIONAL QUEEN?
‘After my wins, I’ve got so many feedbacks that were both good and bad. Some where saying that they’re inspired and glad that someone can finally represent and fight for what most of the trans community feels and experience on a regular basis. But I also got comments saying I wasn’t deserving based on how I looked, that I wasn’t good enough. And then everything clicked for me, that I have to continue to be true to myself and share to the world that it is ok to not fit into any categories and rather be different. I’m competing for my life, but I’m also competing for many people in this world who feels underrepresented, lost or alone. I will be the voice for many who’s voices aren’t often heard.
- WHAT MAKES YOU QUEEN COMPARED TO THE OTHER CONTESTANTS?
‘That is my drive. I’ve experienced many things from leaving home and not having a place to stay, not having supportive background, bullying, domestic violence, and rape. Yet, I still stand and always ready to fight for people, for my community and for what I believe in.’
- WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVOCACY IF YOU WIN?
‘I want to focus on having support groups, shelters or centers every where in the world where people can feel safe and free to be themselves, to have access or resources for support and understanding, especially for the youth. I also want to continue educating kids and parents about the trans community, about how we could grow together and live in a better world.’
- WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO YOUNG GIRLS WHO WANT FOLLOW IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS IN THE FUTURE?
‘Never let fear stop you from achieving your dreams and aspirations in life. Always believe in yourself, because when there is a will there is always a way.’
I am in no doubt that Kataluna will do very well at MIQ. I’ll be cheering for her behind my computer at home. But you can support her by leaving polite comments under her official contestant picture. I wish you her all the best at this elite international beauty pageant for trans women from all around world.
Miss International Queen 2018 is themed ‘The Stage of True Identity’ would be live from Tiffany’s Show Theatre, Pattaya , Thailand on the 9th March. You can watch it on GMM25 channel in Thailand or facebook.com/MissInternationalQueen page.
Tickets : THB 3,500 (VIP) and THB 2,500 (Mezzanine)
For booking: Call (+66) 038-421-700 to 5
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and ThaiticketMajor