As a former Miss USA contestant, I love that the organization is inclusive and that Mikayla Holmgren has able to make history as she became the first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in a Miss USA pageant. Well, now her sights are set on becoming the first female model with Down syndrome to be featured in the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue.
The Minnesota woman hopes to inspire others who have the same condition. Down syndrome happens when someone is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21, according to the CDC, and about one in 700 people in the U.S. are born with it.
Mikayla recently submitted her audition tape to “Sports Illustrated” and now her fingers are crossed as she waits to hear back. But even if she doesn’t get this gig, the model says she’ll keep spreading her message of inclusivity. “No matter what, it’s from inside out,” she says. “It’s following your dream to go do it.”