First woman with Down syndrome competes in Miss Minnesota USA pageant

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Six decades after its very first competition, the annual beauty contestant featured its first woman with Down syndrome. Denise Wallace, the Miss Minnesota executive director, said: "Anybody that even spends 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".

"I'm loving it, I'm loving it", Mikayla said.

A 22-year-old woman, the first person with the Down syndrome to enter a United States beauty contest, delighted the audience at the Miss Minnesota pageant on Sunday.

Holmgren, who has been dancing since she was 6 years old, performed a dance routine for the pageant's talent portion. "I want to do this, on my own and I'm really, really proud of myself". "I went from a special needs pageant to the biggest pageant in the world".

"You exude the spirit of Miss USA by always being true to yourself and putting others first", Heitkamp said, according to Pioneer Press. She hopes that her visibility in the pageant might expose new audiences to different types of people, hopefully challenging some of their ideas in the process. "It's kind of insane". She is now a student at the Bethel University's Inclusive Learning and Development program and plans to graduate in 2018.

Holmgren's background in dance is one she's described as an outlet, and way to express herself. "And would love to model", she wrote on Facebook. I want to show what my life looks like, being happy, and joyful.

Holmgren said she wants the world to know that her Down syndrome "does not define" her.