Mikayla Holmgren is no stranger to the stage. The 22-year-old Bethel University student is a dancer and gymnast, and previously won Miss Minnesota Amazing, a pageant for women with disabilities, back in 2015. Now, she's making history by becoming the first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in Miss Minnesota USA.
"I said, 'I want to do this,'" Holmgren tells People of her decision to apply to the pageant in April. "I want to show my personality. I want to show what my life looks like, being happy, and joyful. I want to show what Down Syndrome looks like." (Related: Woman Becomes America's First Zumba Instructor With Down Syndrome)
"Mikayla is such an incredible and accomplished young woman," Denise Wallace, executive co-director of Miss Minnesota USA told People. "We feel she definitely has what it takes to compete at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant this fall in that she is the epitome of what the Miss Universe Organization strives to look for in contestants—someone who is confidently beautiful."
"I was just so happy and I had a smile on my face," she told People about the moment she found out she made the cut to compete in the November 26 pageant. "...My life is changing because of the pageant," she says. "I'm very proud of myself. It's a new thing in my life [and] I'm going to blaze the trail!"
Good luck, Mikayla! We're rooting for you.