In order for barriers to be broken, someone has to step up and pave the way for something new. It takes one brave leader to open the door for hundreds of others. This girl is one such leader.
Meet Mikayla Holmgren, a 22 year old from Stillwater, Minnesota. This year she competed in the Miss USA state pageant, where she made it all the way to the finals. Mikayla is a star, but her bright smile isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from the crowd.
This contestant had Down Syndrome. In fact, she is the first woman with the disability to ever compete in a Miss USA state pageant! After you spend a moment watching Mikayla, it is not hard to see why she is doing so well: her personality shines brighter than the winner’s crown.
“She just has a really positive outlook on things and, you know, she never really has a bad day,” Mikayla’s father shared with Fox News. Throughout her contests, this girl can be seen smiling, dancing, and simply enjoying life.
When the state pageant was over, Mikayla returned home with two awards: the Spirit of Miss USA Award, and the Director’s Award. This girl definitely deserved it!
“Mikayla is such an incredible and accomplished young woman,” Denise Wallace, the executive co-director of Miss Minnesota USA, explained to People. “She is the epitome of what the Miss Universe organization strives to look for in contestants.”
The young star has not let all the success get to her head; instead, she is grateful for all the support. “I was super shocked, I was in tears,” the contestant told BuzzFeed News about winning her two awards. “I went from a special needs pageant to the biggest pageant in the world. It’s kind of crazy.”
Mikayla knows that this is a big accomplishment – not just for herself, but for all women with disabilities. Future contestants now have this brave woman to look up to. “My life is changing because of the pageant,” she stated to People. “I’m very proud of myself. It’s a new thing in my life. I’m going to blaze the trail!”
That is exactly what this courageous contestant has done. Mikayla has paved the way for future Miss USA contestants of all backgrounds.
The world could use more people with such brilliant confidence. Mikayla’s story is an inspiration to anyone who wants to expand their horizons.
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