BURNSVILLE, Minn. - Mikayla Holmgren received a standing ovation when she became the first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. And although she didn’t win the title of Miss Minnesota, she did receive the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director’s Award.
Mikayla paved the way for others to follow in her footsteps. That much was evident as some families brought their children with Down Syndrome to witness history being made.
Miss Minnesota Executive Director Denise Wallace told FOX 9, “Anybody that even spends 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.”
Lana Beaton brought her 2-year-old daughter Clara, who has Down syndrome, to the event. She told the Pioneer Press, “I was overwhelmed. I was full of so much hope and joy and excitement for her and our future.”
As reported by Newsweek, Mikayla previously participated in pageants created for women and girls with disabilities, and won the Miss Minnesota Amazing competition in 2015. Earlier this year, she received a letter encouraging her to compete in Miss Minnesota. Her beautiful smile lit up the Ames Center in Burnsville, Minnesota, and captured the hearts of the crowd. .
“I was really excited. Really excited,” Mikayla told FOX 9. “It’s really, really fun. I love the stage and I’m so proud of myself.”
Watch the video to see how stunning Mikayla looked on this historic night.