Minnesotan hopes to be 1st woman with Down Syndrome in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

Mikayla Holmgren shoots her video submission for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Search. (FOX 9)

A Minnesota woman is hoping to become the first person with Down Syndrome to be featured in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

In 2017, Mikayla Holmgren became the first woman with Down Syndrome to compete in a state Miss USA pageant. While she didn't win the competition, she won the Spirit of Miss USA and Director’s awards that night. 

Now, the Marine on St. Croix native is looking to break more barriers. FOX 9 caught up with Holmgren while she shot her video entry for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Search.

"I just wanted to do it. It’s about the fun especially," said Holmgren.

If selected to be in the issue, Holmgren would join Minnesota’s Halima Aden as a trailblazer of inclusivity for the swimsuit issue. In 2019, Aden became the first model featured wearing a hijab and burkini.

Since the 2017 pageant, Holmgren has been modeling and public speaking. She says she also has plans to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant this summer.

"I just tell someone who has special needs or Down Syndrome be confident, be proud of yourself, go do it, go after your dreams," said Holmgren.

To follow along with Holmgren's journey, you can follow her Instagram @Mikholmgren_Inspiring_Others or her website.