First woman with Down syndrome competes in Miss Minnesota USA pageant

Ebony Scott
November 28, 2017

The 22-year-old Holmgren who competed in the event which took place Sunday night in Burnsville, was named the recipient of the Miss Minnesota USA Spirit Award and Director's Award.

Mikayla Holmgren of Stillwater, Minnesota was one of 51 contestants who competed in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant on November 25. Holmgren is from Marine on St. Croix.

The audience gave Holmgren standing ovations as she accepted the awards.

"You make people smile every time you talk, cheer, smile and dance", said Heitkamp as she read from Mikayla's nomination letter for the Spirit Award. "I was crying on stage when they told me my friend surprised me with a lovely note to help me win the Spirit Award". "You have selflessness, humility, and the ability to overcome obstacles with a smile on your face and excitement in your heart", executive state director, Denise Wallace Heitkamp, said as she presented the Spirit Award.

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She said she wasn't nervous to apply, on the contrary, she was "super proud". In 2015, she first competed in the Minnesota Miss Amazing pageant, a pageant created for women with special needs, and she won. "I want to do this, on my own and I'm really, really proud of myself".

- Mikayla Holmgren's parents say she's always loved to perform. "I met one young lady who said she made a decision to enter after reading Mikayla's story last spring".

"If you can see a curvy girl on the cover of Sports Illustrated or Vogue, then we can definitely see a curvy girl as Miss Universe", she continued. "I would also like [to] model or do dancing".

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