The Queen Mother of Southern California, Heir Apparent (4th in Line of Succession) & President of the Board of Directors for Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood, Karina Samala has been an active member in the LGBTQ+ community for over twenty-five years.  She currently campaigns for the equality and human rights that should be afforded to transgender individuals. 

Born in Manila, Philippines. She is a graduate of M.I.T. Philippines with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering and for several years worked as a Senior Process Engineer for The Northrop-Grumman Corporation and has competed in and won numerous transgender beauty pageants. Her titles include “Queen of the Universe” 1991, “Miss Gay Universe” 1995, and “Miss California Continental” 1990. 

Along with her involvement in these LGBTQ+ events, Karina has continued to be active in multiple advocacy groups and philanthropic organizations which has organized fundraising efforts for the following: Christ Chapel AIDS Food Bank of Long Beach, St. John’s Food Cup Board and Well Child Center, and “Fashion for a Cause” for the K6G Smart Program at the Twin Towers Men’s County Jail of Los Angeles. She also assisted in establishing effort for the “The Nicole Murray Ramirez Scholarship Fund”, which offers yearly scholarships to various educational institutions without partiality to ethnicity, sexual preference or lifestyle.

As the Chair Person of the City of Los Angeles Human Services Commission Transgender Working Group.  Karina has coordinated with the Los Angeles Police Department on a committee that formulated and distributed a survey questionnaire on the transgender community and LAPD interactions in the city of Los Angeles. The results of this survey directly contributed to the creation of a “Recommended Model Policies and Standards” for the LAPD’s interactions with transgender individuals. In addition to her duties on this commission, she also served on the Asian Pacific Islander Pride Council for four years and served as the Volunteers Committee Chair for the Christopher Street West region of Los Angeles Gay Pride. Ms. Samala also chairs the Transgender Advisory Board of West Hollywood which was instrumental in re-designating the organization from “transgender task force” to “transgender advisory board”, which is the first of its kind in the world.

     For her extensive and continued work in the community, Ms. Samala has been awarded the “Transgender Trailblazer Award” from the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center in 2006, the “Lifetime Achievement” and “Stonewall 40 Trans-Heroes” awards from the International Court Council in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Most recently, Ms. Samala was honored with the “Keeper of the Dream” Award from the City of West Hollywood earlier this year.


Achievements include:

  • Miss Closet Ball
  • Manila’s 5 Prettiest
  • Miss Gay Pride LA 1994
  • Super Model of the World 1991
  • Miss California Continental 1991
  • Goddess 18 — “1990”
  • Miss Gay California 1990
  • Miss Gay Los Angeles 1990
  • Queen of the Universe 1991
  • Miss Gay Universe “Queen of the World 1995”
  • Empress 23, 24, and 30 of Los Angeles & Hollywood
  • Producer of the Queen of the Universe Pageant since 1998
  • Transgender Trailblazer Award 2006
  • ICC’s Lifetime Achievement 2008
  • ICC’s Stonewall 40 Trans-Heroes 2009
  • West Hollywood Keeper of the Dream Award 2019