Mikayla Holmgren made history last weekend as she became the first woman with Down’s Syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA beauty pageant.
The 22-year-old university student and dancer won both the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director’s Award at the event.
And as she took to the stage at the Ames Centre in Burnsvill to receive her trophies, the audience gave her a well-deserved standing ovation.
The executive state director, Denice Wallace Heitkamp, presented Holmgren with the awards and said: “You make people smile every time you talk, cheer, smile, and dance. You have selflessness, humility, and the ability to overcome obstacles with a smile on your face and excitement in your heart.”
And the overwhelming reaction from the crowd brought Holmgren to tears as she embraced her mother.
The 22-year-old began dancing at the tender age of six and was crowned Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing back in 2015. And when she received an application for the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant, her mum encouraged her to apply.
In a recent Facebook post Holmgren wrote: “I hope to continue dancing. I want to teach art to young children. And would love to model. I want to live independently and continue to be an advocate for inclusion. I want to be a light shining for acceptance.”