History's First: Woman With Down Syndrome Competes In Miss USA State Pageant

June 04, 2018 lilit 0 Comments

You know how it feels to actually pursue your dream? Mikayla Holmgren, a 22-year-old from Stillwater, Minnesota, knows. She is the first person with Down Syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant. “I want to be able to show others what inclusion is all about, that someone with special needs can go after their dreams,” she said in an interview.

Lauren Freeman


She returned with two awards: the Spirit of Miss USA Award, and the Director’s Award! “I was super shocked, I was in tears,” she said. “I went from a special needs pageant to the biggest pageant in the world. It’s kind of crazy.”

This is not Mikayla's first performance rodeo: she has been singing since the age of six, and she's also an ambassador for Best Buddies, a non-profit organization that works to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Mikayla is such an incredible and accomplished young woman,” Denise Wallace, executive co-director of Miss Minnesota USA, said in an interview. “She is the epitome of what the Miss Universe Organization strives to look for in contestants.”

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