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Woman makes history after becoming first contestant with Down syndrome to compete in Miss USA state pageant 


MINNESOTA – She made history!

22-year-old Mikayla Holmgren became the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant.

“I just loved this day,” Mikayla told TODAY. “I was on that stage and they called my name, I was in tears. I was very emotional.”

Back in 2015, Holmgren won the Junior Miss Amazing competition, a pageant for people with disabilities. This year, she asked her mom about entering the 2017 Miss Minnesota USA pageant.

“It didn’t really hit me that it was the Miss USA, Miss Universe pageant. There are so many pageants,” said Sandi Holmgren, Mikayla’s mom. “She chose the pageants of pageants and I got nervous.”

However, Mikayla, who was also a dancer, was ready to compete and she was confident.

“I want others to believe in themselves,” she said.

Before taking the stage, Mikayla sent her mom a text saying “I am thankful for the stage, a place for awareness of Down syndrome.”

And even though she didn’t win, she took home two awards that night: the Miss Minnesota USA Spirit Award and the Director’s Award.

Her story is now inspiring others.

“It is making a difference in the world,” she said.