A Miss Minnesota Pageant contestant Saturday was the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant.
Mikayla Holmgren, 22, a student at Bethel University in St. Paul, is a triple-threat athlete, loves to dance and serves as a mentor to others with Down syndrome.
“I’m ready for this,” Holmgren told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “When I’m performing on stage, I just want people to see me.”
The winner of Miss Minnesota goes on to compete at Miss USA. The winner there goes on to Miss Universe. Pageant officials were ecstatic when they accepted Holmgren’s application.
“Mikayla is a trailblazer,” Denise Wallace, executive co-director of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, told the Star Tribune. “What is amazing and beautiful about this is the fact that women are finally seeing representations of themselves in this capacity. It makes the next woman feel like they can do that, too.”
Holmgren is no stranger to pageant competition. She won Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing, a pageant for girls and women with disabilities, in 2015.
She has a GoFundMe page set up to help defray some of the costs of competition.