Mikayla Holmgren first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in Miss Minnesota pageant

Mikayla Holmgren's parents say she's always loved to perform. 

So when she became the first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota pageant Sunday night, they didn't think twice--especially given the competition's history of breaking barriers.

“Anybody that even spends five minutes with her knows that she is the right person to be the first to represent a community of people that need to see themselves doing something like this,” Miss Minnesota Executive Director Denise Wallace said. 

And though she didn't win the title of Miss Minnesota, Holmgren hopes her effort--which did net her the Spirit of Miss Minnesota award--can inspire other young women with the condition to not let anything hold them back. 

“It’s really, really fun," Holmgren said. "I love the stage and I’m so proud of myself.”

Last year a semi-finalist at the pageant became the first woman to wear a hijab during competition, with several others following suit at Sunday's event.