A Miss USA candidate aspired to be the first model with Down Syndrome to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
Mikayla Holmgren, 26, from Minnesota, bagged two awards after impressing judges at the Miss Minnesota competition.
Mikayla’s mission is to make modeling more inclusive to the world and she was the first woman with Down syndrome to participate in the beauty pageant. And now, she applied to appear in the next edition of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Mikayla entered Sports Illustrated’s annual Swim Search.
Swim Search is an open casting that allows people to submit online applications in the hopes of landing a spot in the next Swimsuit Issue.
“To have Down syndrome in it is really to show others they can be more accepting,” Mikayla said in her video application. “Sports Illustrated Swim has been such a champion of the diversity of beauty, now is the time to include someone like me.”
“I am a dancer, a model, public speaker, and college graduate,” Mikayla said. “I am the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss USA state pageant.”
“I rocked my bathing suit on the stage,” she said. “Now, it’s time to rock the magazine.”
Despite Mikayla’s impressive efforts, she learned last Monday that she did not make it to the top 15 Swim Search finalists.
But Mikayla maintained her positive attitude and insists that this news will not stop her from trying again in the future.
“I haven’t given up hope yet!” Mikayla said. “I want to have my own clothing line someday and makeup.”
“I want to go more into fashion and be a designer and do something with children,” she said. “I want to achieve so much, I always dream big, I have goals and go do it.”
“There’s nothing stopping people from living your life today,” she added. “Just follow your dreams.”