We absolutely LOVE hearing about stories of people not letting their circumstances get in the way. So when we heard about a 22 year-old woman in Minnesota, USA changing the pageant game, we wanted to share it. Mikayla Holmgren has become the first person with Down syndrome to enter a Miss USA state pageant. Her love for pageantry has stemmed from her early years, where she began dancing competitively when she was six, and her determination to follow her dreams is inspiring.
Not only is Holmgren's passion a breaking of barriers for women who live with Down syndrome, but her entry into Miss Minnesota USA is a testament to the changing ways that society is finally adapting its outlook of beauty and its definition beyond white, thin and blonde.
Not only did she make history, but she also went home with two awards from the state pageant, the first, The Spirit of Miss USA Award, and the second, the Director's award.
“I'm really proud of myself,” Mikayla told Minnesota news station KSTP. “This is my dream.” She then went on to talk to non-profit Project: Just Like You, saying: “I want to be able to show others what inclusion is all about, that someone with special needs can go after their dreams.” Additionally, Mikayla is an ambassador herself for Best Buddies, a non-profit that helps the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This isn't the first time we've began to see diversity in beauty pageants, and it's important that it's not the last time we see it. We can't wait to see more inclusivity! Congratulations Mikayla!