A woman with Down Syndrome who is competing for the title of Miss Minnesota this weekend is being called a “trailblazer” as pageant officials believe she’s the first person with the syndrome to compete in the event.
Mikayla Holmgren, 22, competed Saturday at the Miss Minnesota pageant in Burnsville. It’s the first time someone with Down Syndrome has competed in a Miss USA state pageant, according to the Star Tribune.
“I’m really good at them because it’s my passion,” Holmgren told KSTP of her pageantry experience. “It’s really fun. As I do more pageants and I’m really proud of myself … this is my dream.”
The 22-year-old had previously been crowned Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015 and competed in the national Junior Miss Amazing in Los Angeles, the Tribune reported.
“Mikayla is a trailblazer,” executive co-director of the pageant, Denise Wallace, told the newspaper. Wallace told People in May “that she is the epitome of what the Miss Universe Organisation strives to look for in contestants — someone who is confidently beautiful.”
Holmgren said she wants the world to know that her Down Syndrome “does not define” her. “With your help, I can help break through walls,” she told KARE television.
This weekend’s pageant reportedly includes judging of evening gowns and swimsuits, in addition to an interview portion. If Holmgren wins, she’ll have the chance to compete in the Miss USA competition in 2018.
The final round of the competition is Sunday night, Fox News stated.