MARINE ON ST. CROIX, Minn. - A Minnesota woman is believed to be the first in the country with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant.
Mikayla Holmgren, a Bethel University student, applied online not knowing if she’d be given the chance to compete.
"I want to do this. My mom is so freaked out but I want to do this," Mikayla said.
The 22-year-old from Marine on St. Croix has learned her application has been accepted and will compete in the Miss Minnesota pageant on Nov. 25-26 in Burnsville. The winner will represent the state in the Miss USA pageant.
Holmgren has a passion for dancing and is no stranger to the pageant spotlight. She won the title of Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing in 2015. In the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, Mikayla will be judged in three categories: evening gown, swimsuit and interview. Her friends and family hope what they see in Mikayla will shine through.
"I think it will enhance her capabilities and her smile and energy will come out," said her father, Craig.
"The community will get to experience not only the beauty of Mikayla but the joy of Mikayla," said Dawn Allen, Mikayla's friend.
A GoFundMe has been set up for unexpected costs associated with competing in the pageant.
“I want the world to know that Down syndrome does not define me. With your help, I can help break through walls,” she writes.