Mikayla Holmgren is a 22-year-old college student from Stillwater, Minnesota. She enjoys dancing and performing and oh yeah, she just made history as the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant.
This incredible trailblazer is a testament to hard work and believing in yourself. It's just the kind of story we all need to read today.
Mikayla Holmgren is currently a student at Bethel University's Inclusive Learning and Development program.She plans to graduate in 2018, but in the meantime, she's breaking barriers and winning awards! Her historic participation in the 2017 Miss Minnesota pageant is a fantastic source of inspiration.
Holmgren's been dancing since she was a little girl.From the age of 6, she always loved performing in front of people. "Dancing is a good outlet for me. It's how I express myself," she told BuzzFeed News. "It's my talent and I want to show people what I can do and how I can give more."
In 2015, Holmgren competed in and wone Minnesota Miss Amazing, a pageant for women with disabilities.Since then, she knew she was destined for more. Earlier this year, she got a letter in the mail about the Miss Minnesota pageant, and she said she "bugged her mom" for days to let her apply to participate.
Sandi Holmgren, Mikayla's mom, told BuzzFeed news that she didn't realize at first that this pageant was part of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageant."It took me a few weeks to realize the enormity of it and what a big deal it was for her to be in," she said. But Mikayla was more than ready to compete at this high level.
And compete she did!
INSPIRING: Mikayla Holmgren makes history as the first woman with Down syndrome to compete for the Miss USA Pageant… https://t.co/DheGKWQnNm— ABC News (@ABC News)1511814944.0
Holmgren also won two awards — the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director's Award.
Mikayla Holmgren, first woman with Down syndrome to compete in Miss Minnesota USA, wins Spirit of Miss USA, Directo… https://t.co/pXnIBLBwUI— KARE 11 (@KARE 11)1511753296.0
Holmgren put in an enormous amount of work to get to that point in the competition, and it totally paid off.
Mikayla Holmgren, the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the @MissMNUSA pageant, waves during the swimsui… https://t.co/nAPM6ERVSX— Leila Navidi (@Leila Navidi)1511664808.0
The audience gave her a standing ovation when she received her awards, and Holmgren said that she cried tears of joy.
Mikayla Holmgren said she was so shocked she cried when she won two awards at Miss Minnesota yesterday. She also ma… https://t.co/RaSYmPS1jU— Brianna Sacks (@Brianna Sacks)1511813654.0
Obviously, Holmgren was a fan-favorite in the competition as well.
@ABC Not usually a big fan of pageants, but it’s hard not to tear-up a little when you see how happy she is! How cool is that.— ByeDon! 🌊🌊🌊🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@ByeDon! 🌊🌊🌊🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸)1511835138.0
It's clear that Holmgren's participation in the pageant is more than an inspiration.
@ABC amazing story :) beautiful girl <3— Dahlia_Angel (@Dahlia_Angel)1511884377.0