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Mikayla Holmgren      

First Miss USA State Pageant Contestant with Down Syndrome & Ambassador for Best Buddies Int'l.

Mikayla Holmgren made history by being the first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in any Miss USA state pageant and did it in her home state of Minnesota in 2017. She continued to put herself out there by auditioning to grace the pages of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swim issue in 2021, as the first woman with Down Syndrome to do so. Later that year, People Magazine shared Holmgren’s story as one of the “100 Reasons to Love America in 2021”.

She is a graduate of the Bethel University B.U.I.L.D. Program, a two-year certificate program for individuals with intellectual disabilities, where she participated in many activities, including being on the dance team. Dance is her passion. She choreographs her own dances, competes at many competitions throughout the year and has won many awards. She has danced at the Celebration Ceremony for the Minnesota Special Olympics State Meet and Best Buddies Leadership Conferences. She was the featured guest on an episode of Facebook’s “Dance with Nia” hosted by Nia Sioux who rose to game on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms”. Besides dance, Holmgren also enjoys gymnastics and golf, both of which as part of Special Olympics.

Holmgren is a self-advocate and has spoken at the Minnesota and Pennsylvania Capitols for help with legislation for those with special needs and has spoken at the United Nations. Holmgren loves fashion and is currently on the Advisory Council for Fashion Week Minnesota where she has walked the runway for fashion week. As a model & social media influencer, she has worked on campaigns for Sephora, Bally Sports North and Sigma Beauty, to name a few. She has worked hard to bring the Best Buddies Organization to Minnesota and continues to support fundraising efforts for her state by holding her own Dreaming Big Without Limits Fashion Show each year.


Mikayla Holmgren Blazes Trail As First State Miss USA Contestant ...
Mikayla Holmgren made history Sunday night at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a state Miss USA pageant. The 22-year-old Bethel University student from Stillwater, Minnesota, also won two awards: the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director's ...
Woman with Down syndrome talks about competing in Miss ...
Mikayla Holmgren, a 22-year-old dancer and Bethel University student, took home two awards that evening.
Mikayla Holmgren becomes first woman to compete in a Miss USA ...
When Mikayla Holmgren glided across the stage during the Miss Minnesota USA pageant last week, she accomplished what no one before her ever had: She became the first person with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA state pageant. “I just loved this day,” Mikayla told TODAY. “I was on that stage ...

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