MINNEAPOLIS (CBS4) – A woman with Down syndrome is making history in the Miss USA pageant.

Mikayla Holmgren is the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA pageant, telling CBS Minnesota she won’t let her disability define her.

“Outside beauty, it’s like inside out because I’m thinking about what’s gorgeous. Like happy, joyful,” Holmgren said.

The university student began dancing at age 6, and has also been involved in gymnastics.

In 2015, she was crowned Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing.

“She’s an ambassador,” her mother Sandi said. “She’s going to be a leader and stands firm for others that maybe don’t know how to achieve things.”

“Hats off to the selection committee for taking a broader picture and looking back and saying, look at her credentials and say let’s go for it,” her father Craig Holmgren said.

Mikayla Holmgren (credit: CBS)

“I’m just really excited, it’s out in the world and people are going to know about this,” Mikayla said.

Mikayla has already begun practicing the interview portion of the pageant, as well as walking in high heels.

The Miss Minnesota USA competition will be held in November.

 

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