Thursday 22 August 2019

Woman becomes first person with Down’s syndrome to compete in Miss USA state pageant

'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 Holmgren took part in the Miss Minnesota over the weekend.
Mikayla Holmgren took part in the Miss Minnesota over the weekend.

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

A woman with Down’s syndrome has become the first person with the disability to compete in a Miss USA state pageant.

Mikayla Holmgren took part in the Miss Minnesota over the weekend.

“I’m really good at them because it’s my passion," she told KSTP news channel after the event in the city of Burnsville.

The 22-year-old has previously competed in junior pageants and was crowned Miss Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015.

She later represented the state when she competed in the Junior Miss Amazing in Los Angeles.

Officials said Ms Holmgren 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.

“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," said the competition's executive director Denise Wallace.

Contestant Kalie Wright was crowned Miss Minnesota at the end of the pageant, but Ms Holmgren did not go home empty handed. She was awarded the Spirit of Miss USA award and the Director’s Award.

The state pageant made headlines last year when Halima Adem became the first woman to compete for the Miss Minnesota title while wearing a hijab and a burkini.

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