A woman has become the first person with Down’s syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant.
Mikayla Holmgren took part in the Miss Minnesota pageant over the weekend.
The 22-year-old had previously competed in junior pageants and was crowned Miss Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing back in 2015.
Watch the video here:
She later represented the state when she competed in the Junior Miss Amazing in Los Angeles.
Mikayla told KSTP news channel after the event in the city of Burnsville:
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.
Officials said Mikayla is the first person with Down’s syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant when she was accepted as a contestant earlier this year, writes The Independent.
Denise Wallace, the competition's executive director said:
Anybody that spends even five minutes with her knows that she is the right person to be the first to represent a community of people that need to see themselves doing something like this.
Mikayla has a Facebook page - Mikayla Holmgren - Dancer with Down Syndrome - in which she describes herself as a 'young lady with Down Syndrome who has a passion for dancing and loves to express herself through her dancing'.
Mikayla Holmgren, the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA contest, is interviewed after the pageant in Burnsville. Holmgren, 22, of Marine on St. Croix, won the Spirit Award and the Directors Award. pic.twitter.com/GOx3kmTmfx
— Mary Divine (@MaryEDivine) November 27, 2017
Despite contestant Kalie Wright being crowned Miss Minnesota at the end of the pageant, Mikayla did not go home empty-handed. She was awarded the Spirit of Miss USA award and the Director’s Award.
Twitter user 'Kate G' wrote what we were all thinking:
I'll just be over here bursting with happiness over Mikayla Holmgren busting stereotypes with spark and beauty!
— Becky (@SillyHeart75) November 27, 2017
As Mikayla posted about the pageant on her Facebook page, she was met with huge support from her fans.
Charlene Goodwin Tolbert wrote:
You make my Heart smile. I am blessed to have the most wonderful sister ever Janet Goodwin who also has Down Syndrome. She is 55 and has been such a blessing to our family.
She has taught us more than we ever had to teach her! She is Beautiful on the inside and outside. It makes me so happy to see how much has changed since she was a young girl. Its because of brave people like you!!! You go out there and change the world! Do not let anyone or anything hold you back!
And Dara Adams Flynn added:
Absolutely beautiful!!!.....You are showing so many people that no matter who you are or challenges you may have you can do anything you want to!!!....I have an Autistic daughter who dances and it always helps her to see others meet their dreams no matter the adversity!!!...God bless you.
To help guide her on her journey at the pageant was Halima Aden who last year became the first Somali-American woman to compete in a pageant wearing a hijab and burkini.
So it's been a year since we last spoke, what has life been like? Oh my gosh, insane in the best way possible.
Now other girls are having that same opportunity to do the same and it makes me feel really happy.