First woman with Down Syndrome competes in Miss USA state pageant

First woman with Down Syndrome competes in Miss USA state pageant

(WAFB) - A Minnesota woman made history Sunday night when she became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.

Mikayla Holmgren, 22, of Stillwater, Minnesota, became the first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in any Miss USA state pageant when she competed in the Miss Minnesota Pageant.

Holmgren was dressed in a royal-blue Jovani gown with a train, shrieked with joy as she accepted the awards.

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

Holmgren is a student at Bethel University in St. Paul and has spoken to both of Minnesota's House and Senate for legislation on the topic of Trisomy - a genetic disorder in which a person has three copies of a chromosome instead of two.

She also inspires others through her dancing. Holmgren says she loves being on stage as a dancer. "I choreograph my own dances," she said in a GoFundMe campaign.

GoFundMe has been set up for unexpected costs associated with competing in the pageant.

You can follow Holmgren's journey on her Facebook page.

Kalie Wright of Eagle Bend was named Miss Minnesota USA 2018; Melissa Paahk of Detroit Lakes was runner-up. The contest is part of the Miss Universe Organization.

The Miss Minnesota USA pageant has been breaking barriers for a while now.

Last year, semi-finalist Halima Aden, became the first woman to wear a hijab during the competition, with several Muslim women following suit at Sunday's event.

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