In A First, Woman With Down’s Syndrome Takes Part In US Pageant

Down's Syndrome in pageant

Mikayla Holmgren is the first person with Down’s Syndrome to ever compete in a Miss USA state pageant. The 22-year-old recently competed in the Miss Minnesota pageant.

“Anybody that spends even 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,” said the competition’s executive director Denise Wallace. 

Love for Pageants

Though Holmgren did not win, she was awarded the Spirit of Miss USA award and the Director’s Award

The pageant has a history of inclusion. Last year, Halima Adem became the first woman to compete for Miss Minnesota wearing a hijab and burkini.

Holmgren loves pageants. She has previously competed in junior pagaents and was crowned Miss Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015.

“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.”

She wants the world to know that having Down’s Syndrome does not define you.

Down’s Syndrome is no barrier

There are examples after examples of people with Down’s Syndrome achieving great things abroad as well as in India. Twenty-three-year-old Aditi runs her own restaurant in Navi Mumbai, called Aditi’s Corner. She receives 80-100 orders a day and works eight hours a day. Recently, a woman in Argentina became the first person with Down’s Syndrome to become a nursery school teacher.

One in 800 children in India suffer from Down’s Syndrome. Companies like Lemon Tree Hotels are making concerted efforts to hire people with disabilities. And as more effort is made to include people with disabilities and encourage them to pursue their dreams, we will hopefully see many more stories like Holmgren’s.

Also Read: Woman with Down’s Syndrome Defies All Sceptics, Becomes Teacher

Picture Credit: Fox9