Just a week ago Mikayla Holmgren became the first person with down syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA state pageant. In 2015 Holmgren competed in and won the Junior Miss Amazing competition, which is a pageant designed specifically for those with disabilities.
This inspired Mikayla to enter the 2017 Miss Minnesota USA state pageant. Her mom was hesitant because this was the most important pageant in the state, but Mikayla was confident in her abilities.
She had been dancing for 16 years and participated in the special olympics, where she showed off her gymnastics skills. She has acted as an advocate for people with down syndrome at her state government and spoke at Best Buddies Leadership Conference, an event that brings together leaders with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities worldwide.
Holmgren, 22, was not nervous at all for the pageant. She practiced walking in high heels, and participated in mock interviews to prepare for the big day.
While she enjoyed making new friends, dressing up, and performing on stage, she only hoped that she made an impression on others while on stage. She wants to set an example for others, and for “others to believe in themselves,” she says. While Mikayla did not win the pageant, she walked away that night with two awards: The Miss Minnesota USA spirit awards as well as the Director’s award.