One Minnesota woman is quickly earning the title of “trailblazer.”
Mikayla Holmgren, 22, of Stillwater, Minn., is believed to be the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant, according to WFLA.
“Mikayla is a trailblazer,” Denise Wallace, executive co-director of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
The Miss Minnesota contest was held this weekend, with the finals on Sunday.
While she didn’t move on to the final round, Holmgren’s talent and charisma didn’t go unnoticed. She won two awards Sunday: Spirit of Miss USA and the Director’s Award.
“You make people smile every time you talk, cheer, smile and dance,” said Holmgren’s nomination letter, read by Denise Wallace Heitkamp, executive state director. “You exude the spirit of Miss USA by always being true to yourself and putting others first. You have selflessness, humility and the ability to overcome obstacles with a smile on your face and excitement in your heart.”
The audience rose to its feet and gave her a standing ovation as she accepted the awards.
“I can’t believe it!” Holmgren exclaimed.
Kalie Wright was chosen as the next Miss Minnesota USA.
When it comes to pageants, Holmgren tells ABC 5, “I’m really good at them because it’s my passion.”
Holmgren, a student at Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minn., has been dancing since the age of 6, her mother told the Star-Tribune.
“She’s achieved more than I ever dreamed of,” mother Sandi Holmgren said.
She also won Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015, WFLA reports.
“Down syndrome means I have something special,” Mikayla Holmgren told the Star-Tribune. “I can warm hearts.”