22-Year-Old With Down Syndrome Becomes First in History to Compete in Miss USA State Pageant

Mikayla Holmgren has never let Down Syndrome get in the way of chasing after her passions. In fact she’s used it to prove that she can do anything while paving the way for others with Down syndrome.

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The 22-year-old from Minnesota just made history by becoming the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant.

Not only did she compete and show the judges what she was made of, she also brought home two awards—the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director’s Award.

Breaking barriers is nothing new for Mikayla. She’s been dancing competitively since she was just six years old, and she spent the cold Minnesota winters inside a gymnastics gym. The pageant queen is also a college freshman, and an ambassador for Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities, nurtures friendships and enhances the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“I want to be able to show others what inclusion is all about, that someone with special needs can go after their dreams,” Mikayla says.

Competing in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant is just the beginning of a lifetime of inclusiveness Mikayla hopes to achieve. She exudes confidence, beauty and boldness in her pursuit of following her dreams and paving the way for others to do the same.

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Bri Lamm
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Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.