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Woman with Down Syndrome Becomes First to Compete in Miss USA State Pageant


A 22-year-old woman made history on Sunday when she became the first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant in Minnesota.

Although she didn't take the crown, Mikayla Holmgren was honored with the spirit of Miss USA award and the director's award.

"It's really fun," she said. "As I do more pageants and I'm really proud of myself ... this is my dream," Holmgren told television station KSTP.

The spirit of USA award is determined by the judges through letters about the contestants submitted by their friends and family.

The director's award is given to the young woman who stands out in the pageant.

"Everyone loved her, every contestant, every family," Denise Wallace, the co-director of the pageant, said of Holmgren. 

Not to be left out, the audience came to its feet when it was time for Holmgren to accept the awards. 

Her previous pageant experience includes competing in the 2015 Miss Amazing pageant, a pageant designed for women with disabilities. 

This is the second consecutive year for the Miss Minnesota USA pageant to make history.

Last year, Halima Aden, became the first Somali-American woman to wear a hijab in the competition. She made it to the semifinals but failed to make it as a Top 5 finalist. 

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