26-Year-Old Hopes to Be First Woman with Down Syndrome in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
Mikayla Holmgren has already made history, and she's hoping to do it again.
The 26-year-old became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA pageant in 2017 when she entered Minnesota's competition. But Holmgren is now hoping to cross another barrier by becoming the first female model with Down syndrome to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
Listen to our interview with Mikayla Holmgren below on the episode of PEOPLE Every Day!
Holmgren hopes to be an inspiration for many people who have her condition. About one in every 700 people in the U.S. are born with Down syndrome, which occurs when an individual is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 6,000 babies in the U.S. are born with the chromosomal condition each year.
"We tell all our people who have special needs or Down syndrome, go ahead and do it," Holmgren tells Gretchen Carlson in Friday's episode of PEOPLE (the TV Show!). "Just follow your dreams and then do things."
Holmgren recently submitted her audition tape to Sports Illustrated and is waiting to hear back — but she isn't nervous about the answer.
"I just wait and see," she says, "and fingers crossed."
Whether she makes it or not, Holmgren says she will continue to spread her message of inclusion.
"Just bring awareness and be more inclusive," she says. "Just spread the world. And does inclusive matter? No matter what, it's from inside out. It's follow your dream to go do it."