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Mikayla Holmgren      

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

Mikayla Holmgren was born prematurely in 1995 with Down Syndrome. She grew up in a picturesque setting on a lake in May Township, Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. She is a graduate of St. Croix Preparatory Academy and recently graduated from the Bethel University B.U.I.L.D. Program, a two-year certificate program for individuals with intellectual disabilities. She received a certificate in Early Childhood Education using her experience as an aide at St. Croix Prep, Valley Preschool, the Child Development Center at Bethel University and the childcare at a YMCA facility.

Mikayla’s passion is in the arts. Her love of dance has contributed to her confidence on stage. Since age six, she has been trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop and pointe. She loves to choreograph and has been awarded for her dances. At St. Croix, Mikayla was on the Prep Pom Team and was a member of the Bethel University Dance Team. She loves to draw, paint and take photographs. In 2015, Mikayla was part of a trip to Haiti where she helped teach dance to young orphans in Titanya and worked with a team to supply water to the people in Cite Soleil.

Mikayla also loves gymnastics, golf, and bowling, and participates in these sports through Special Olympics in Minnesota. Her varied activities, poise, and beaming smile display her personality and joyful, vibrant life while living with Down Syndrome. She spoke as a self-advocate to the Minnesota House and Senate to help pass a bill that requires doctors to provide adequate and up-to-date information on a Trisomy diagnosis and to have resources available for families. Mikayla has also spoken to the Pennsylvania Congress in support of the Down Syndrome Protection Bill.

Mikayla was the 2015 Miss Amazing Junior Miss and current 2019 Miss Amazing Miss, a pageant for girls and young women with disabilities. This pageant helped pave the way toward her participation in Miss Minnesota USA where she blazed the trail for women with disabilities and inspire others in the arts. Mikayla competed for the title of Miss Minnesota USA in November of 2017 and again in November of 2018. The winner of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant advances to Miss USA and the winner of that, Miss Universe. The pageant is the most recognized event of its kind in the world.

At the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, Mikayla was named the recipient of both the Spirit Award and Director’s Award and the following year won the title of Miss Congeniality, voted on by her fellow contestants. Due to her participation in the Miss USA system and the international media attention that followed, Mikayla has had the opportunity to speak to numerous groups and organizations, including giving a presentation at the UN in New York City.

Mikayla has joined the team at Best Buddies International as an ambassador. Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mikayla and her parents, Sandi & Craig, led the charge to open a Best Buddies office in Minnesota. The Best Buddies Organization has a long-standing relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, making Mikayla’s partnership a perfect fit. Mikayla appeared alongside Miss Teen USA 2017, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff of Missouri, for a promotional video for Best Buddies’ “Spread the Word, to End the Word” campaign.


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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