A 26-year-old woman with Down syndrome has begun catching the hearts of Americans as she has decided to compete to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
This isn’t Mikayla Holmgren’s first experience at modeling. Just a few years ago, she made headlines after becoming the first woman with Down syndrome to compete for the title of Miss Minnesota USA.
“I love being on the camera and I just want to do it. I just want to be more involved in modeling because I did a lot of photoshoots and a lot of radio shoots. And it stuck with me every time I go,” Holmgren said.
“I want it to [add] more diversity … all women deserve to be celebrated,” she added.
According to WSPA News, “Mikayla has finished her video submission for Sports Illustrated. She even picked out the swimsuit she likes best for the audition with her mother.”
Down syndrome occurs in around 1 out of every 700 babies, and around 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome each year.
“When we first found out, of course it was a shock. But fortunately growing up, I had a couple of women in my life who introduced me to people with Down Syndrome so I wasn’t afraid of it. So when she was born, that’s when we decided we wanted to treat her like any other child. Her Down syndrome was secondary, it wasn’t who she was,” said Mikayla’s mother, Sandi Holmgren.
“Let them just try everything that they want to try. Let them find out what their likes or dislikes are. And be super supportive of them and be their advocate and help them achieve whatever they want to achieve,” she added.
Anyone who sees Mikayla Holmgren can tell that she is a happy woman. She is chasing her dreams and not letting her Down syndrome hold her back, and that is truly inspiring.