Living in a selfie society where people compete and manipulate their photos for likes and comments, it can be easy to forget that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes.
And even though Instagram is pretty competitive, it doesn’t hold a candle to real-life beauty pageants.The pageant world has always been one to keep their idea of beauty standards one-dimensional, and anyone who doesn’t look, speak, or act like the cookie cutter mold these pageants have in mind has historically been kicked to the curb. However, it looks like all of that is changing, which beauty pageant stages seeing more inclusive groups of women each year.
Just ask the lovely Mikayla Holmgren. This beauty just made history by becoming the first woman with Down syndrome to ever compete in the Miss USA pageant.
As you can see, Ms. Holmgren is all smiles when she’s in her element.
Holmgren, who lives in Stillwater, Minnesota, recently represented her home state in a pageant.
While she may not have won the crown, she was able to walk away with two specialty awards: the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director’s Award.
“Mikayla is such an incredible and accomplished young woman,” said Denise Wallace, executive co-director of Miss Minnesota USA. “She is the epitome of what the Miss Universe Organization strives to look for in contestants.”
But Holmgren has years ofstage experience. She has delighted audiences at dance recitals and performances since she was six.
And while Miss Minnesota might have been her biggest challenge yet, she’s also no stranger to the pageant world. In 2015, she won the title of Minnesota Miss Amazing, a pageant geared toward women with disabilities.
“I want to be able to show others what inclusion is all about, that someone with special needs can go after their dreams…I went from a special needs pageant to the biggest pageant in the world. It’s kind of crazy,” Holmgren said when recounting her experience competing in such a large competition.
Outside of her pageant career, Holmgren is an ambassador for Best Buddies, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with varying disabilities.
(via Bored Panda)