You might not have heard of Burnsville, Minnesota before now, but the suburb of Minneapolis has been in the spotlight lately. That’s because of a young woman from Burnsville, 22-year-old Mikayla Holmgren, who was the first contestant of a state Miss USA pageant who has down syndrome.
You couldn’t ignore the energy of the beautiful young woman as she strutted down the runway with perfect hair and makeup, in both formalwear and swimwear. While she didn’t win the pageant, she did walk away with two awards: the Spirit Award and the Director’s Award. As she accepted the awards, the audience rose for a standing ovation.
The Miss USA pageant isn’t Holmgren’s first competition, nor is she new to leadership and competitions. She’s competed in the Special Olympics and is active in sports such as gymnastics at Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Mikayla also won the title of Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015, so she was ready to take on Miss USA last weekend, too.
Mikayla uses these platforms to share her joy of dancing, which she has been doing since she was just 6-years-old, and to help encourage artistic creativity in children. Ms. Holmgren jas certainly succeded. As state director Denise Wallace Heitkamp handed Mikayla the award, she commended the contestant for her ability to make people cheer, smile, and dance.
Mikayla Holmgren is an inspiration to many, including others like her who have Down syndrome as well as people with disabilities who are not traditionally included in beauty pageants such as Miss USA.
You can follow Mikayla on Facebook where she posts videos of her dance routines and raises funds for charities that are close to her heart.