Mikayla Holmgren made history Sunday night at the Ames Center in Burnsville when she became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.
Organisers of Miss Minnesota beauty pageant described Holmgren, as a “trailblazer” for becoming the first person of such to contest for the title in any U.S. state pageant.
The 22-year-old Holmgren who competed in the event which took place Sunday night in Burnsville, was named the recipient of the Miss Minnesota USA Spirit Award and Director’s Award.
Executive co-director of the pageant, Denise Wallace, said Holmgren is the epitome of what the Miss Universe Organisation strives to look for in contestants
Wallace said: “You make people smile every time you talk, cheer, smile and dance.
“You exude the spirit of Miss USA by always being true to yourself and putting others first. You have selflessness, humility and the ability to overcome obstacles with a smile on your face and excitement in your heart.”
The audience gave Holmgren standing ovations as she accepted the awards.
“I’m so excited,” Holmgren said. “I can’t believe it!”
Hollmgren who had previously been crowned Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015 and competed in the national Junior Miss Amazing in Los Angeles said she was proud to be among the contestants.
“I’m really good at them because it’s my passion.
“It’s really fun. As I do more pageants and I’m really proud of myself; this is my dream,” she said.
Holmgren also said that she wanted the world to know that her Down Syndrome “does not define” her. “With your help, I can help break through walls,” she added.