Erica Salazar or Erica Andrews was a multi-talented transgender woman. She was not only a Mexican beauty pageant title winner in the national and international competition, but she was also an actor, drag performer, and activist. Her contributions to the world proved that trans people are equally valuable and can be just as highly regarded within society as our cisgender counterparts. Even though she has passed away, she will not be forgotten not only by LGBTQ community but also by her many fans outside the community. She clearly an inspiration to many people who face long odds in this world.
Early life – Erica Andrews was born on September 30, 1969, in a beautiful place of Allende, Nuevo, Leon, Mexico. She grew up on a small ranch with no electricity, to say she came from humble beginnings is an understatement. Her name was derived from the phonetic pronunciation of Eddie which was her birth name. In early the 1990s, her name was changed to a stage name Erica Hutton from Laura Hutton whom she admired as a young girl. She would eventually officially adopt the name became Erica Hutton Andrews. Her surname was derived from her drag mentor and mother Tandi Andrews.
Erica Andrews attended college for about two years and earned an associate degree. She also attended a cosmetology school and became a fully licensed cosmetologist. Having a background in cosmetology, she worked as a make-up artist and a consultant for Glamour shots and MAC Cosmetics. In 2005, she had interviewed by Ambiente Magazine in which she recalled hard childhood memories. She was laughed at by many of her peers, and at one point when a guest speaker came to her school, he addressed her as a “little girl”, which cause caused relentless teasing. When she finally made it to high school, she was assaulted by two male classmates. Despite all the abuse, she never lost hope was able to blossom into one of the most highly regarded transgender women in history.
Career – At the age of 18, she began performing as a female impersonator and drag queen. Her first performance took place at Lus Gueras using the song Break Away. Soon she began performing on various amateur nights at the now defunct Paper Moon night club in San Antonio. Her talent, confidence, and beauty were undeniable and she won not only the talent of the week but also the talent of the month. The experience became her stepping stone that opened the door to bigger pageants like the Miss San Antonio USA pageant. She would eventually land a role in a movie, but she was known for her grace on the stage.
Later life and Death – After living in San Antonio for many years, Erica moved to Indiana with her boyfriend. On March 11, 2013, she died from complications due to a lung infection. Her life was tragically short, but also very powerful and inspiring for many going through difficult times. Her story reminds us all of the potential that we have, regardless of what gender we identify with or where we come from. Rest in peace our beautiful Erica Andrews.
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