Miss USA contestant applies to become the first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model with Down syndrome

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A Miss USA contestant has signed up to be the first model with Down syndrome to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimwear edition.

Mikayla Holmgren, 26, from Marine St Croix, Minnesota, left the stage with two awards after impressing the judges at the Miss Minnesota contest.

As part of her mission to make the modeling world more inclusive, she was the first woman with Down syndrome to enter the beauty pageant.

The model has now been requested to appear in the next bikini issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

Mikayla Holmgren, 26, (pictured) of Marine St Croix, Minnesota, has signed up to become the first woman with Down syndrome to appear in the bikini edition of Sports Illustrated magazine

Mikayla Holmgren, 26, (pictured) of Marine St Croix, Minnesota, has signed up to become the first woman with Down syndrome to appear in the bikini edition of Sports Illustrated magazine

Mikayla was the first woman with Down syndrome to enter the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant.  Pictured: Mikayla Holmgren at the Minnesota State Preliminary Contest for Miss USA 2017 Beauty Pageant, winning the Spirit of Miss USA and Director's Awards

Mikayla was the first woman with Down syndrome to enter the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant.  Pictured: Mikayla Holmgren at the Minnesota State Preliminary Contest for the Miss USA 2017 Beauty Pageant, winning the Spirit of Miss USA and Director's Awards

Mikayla was the first woman with Down syndrome to enter the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant. Pictured: Mikayla Holmgren at the Minnesota State Preliminary Contest for Miss USA 2017 Beauty Pageant, winning the Spirit of Miss USA and Director’s Awards

Mikayla recorded a video explaining why she would be perfect – and why it is time she made her the first model with Down syndrome featured in the publication.

Having Down syndrome in it is really showing others that they can accept more.

Sports Illustrated Swim has been such a champion of beauty diversity. Now is the time to involve someone like me, ”she said.

‘I am a dancer, model, public speaker and graduated. I am the first woman with Down syndrome to enter the Miss USA pageant.

Mikayla recorded a video application explaining to Sports Illustrated magazine why she should be chosen.  Pictured: Mikayla Holmgren is gearing up for her audition tape with Sports Illustrated

Mikayla recorded a video application explaining to Sports Illustrated magazine why she should be chosen.  Pictured: Mikayla Holmgren is gearing up for her audition tape with Sports Illustrated

Mikayla recorded a video application explaining to Sports Illustrated magazine why she should be chosen. Pictured: Mikayla Holmgren is gearing up for her audition tape with Sports Illustrated

Mikayla said Sports Illustrated Swim is a champion for diversity and said she rocked a swimsuit at the Miss USA state pageant.  Pictured: Mikayla during the parade

Mikayla said Sports Illustrated Swim is a champion for diversity and said she rocked a swimsuit at the Miss USA state pageant.  Pictured: Mikayla during the parade

Mikayla said Sports Illustrated Swim is a champion for diversity and said she rocked a swimsuit at the Miss USA state pageant. Pictured: Mikayla during the parade

Mikayla (pictured), who graduated from Bethel University BUILD Program in 2018, is also a dancer, choreographer and public speaker

Mikayla (pictured), who graduated from Bethel University BUILD Program in 2018, is also a dancer, choreographer and public speaker

Mikayla (pictured), who graduated from Bethel University BUILD Program in 2018, is also a dancer, choreographer and public speaker

I rocked my bathing suit on stage. Now is the time to rock the magazine. ‘

Since starting her modeling career in 2015, Mikayla has participated in campaigns for Sephora, Rosedale Mall and Sigma Beauty.

She entered the Minnesota state preliminary contest for Miss USA’s 2017 beauty pageant and won the Spirit of Miss USA and Director’s Award and is now awaiting her application to be featured in the magazine’s next bikini Sports Illustrated. been successful.

“It could be more acceptance and help people learn,” Mikayla said.

‘People are having a hard time – I can, but I couldn’t before.

Mikayla (pictured) revealed that she has many plans for the future, including her own clothing line and makeup

Mikayla (pictured) revealed that she has many plans for the future, including her own clothing line and makeup

Mikayla (pictured) revealed that she has many plans for the future, including her own clothing line and makeup

Mikayla said that being featured in Sports Illustrated Swim could help more people learn and accept.  Pictured: Mikayla Holmgren is gearing up for her audition tape with Sports Illustrated

Mikayla said that being featured in Sports Illustrated Swim could help more people learn and accept.  Pictured: Mikayla Holmgren is gearing up for her audition tape with Sports Illustrated

Mikayla (pictured) said she likes modeling because it is a creative art

Mikayla (pictured) said she likes modeling because it is a creative art

Mikayla said the appearance in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit could help more people learn and accept. Pictured: Mikayla is gearing up for her audition tape with Sports Illustrated

‘I did modeling for magazines and I just loved doing it. Modeling is a creative art.

“It was a good opportunity to have more excitement and be more involved, and it’s really cool to do it.”

‘I haven’t given up hope yet!

‘I want to have my own clothing line and makeup someday. I want to go into fashion more and become a designer and do something with children.

‘I want to achieve so much. I always dream big, I have goals and I’m going to do it.

‘Nothing will stop people from living your life today. Just follow your dreams, ‘she added.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit was first published in 1964 and has recently taken steps to increase diversity within the models in the magazine.

Muslim model Halima Aden, was pictured wearing a hijab and bikini in the 2019 issue and plus-size model Hunter McGrady is also featured in the hit magazine.

Ta-da!  The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue chose two winners for the SI Swim Search last year, including Tanaye White (photo)

Ta-da!  The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue chose two winners for the SI Swim Search last year, including Tanaye White (photo)

Ta-da! The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue chose two winners for the SI Swim Search last year, including Tanaye White (photo)

Go girl!  Tanaye and 57-year-old Kathy Jacobs (pictured) will both be Rookies in this year's issue

Go girl!  Tanaye and 57-year-old Kathy Jacobs (pictured) will both be Rookies in this year's issue

Go girl! Tanaye and 57-year-old Kathy Jacobs (pictured) will both be Rookies in this year’s issue

The sports publication also featured her first transgender woman, Valentina Sampaio, in July 2020, and she will appear in the magazine for the second time this year.

She will be joined by fellow trans model Leyna Bloom, who is making history as the very first black and Asian transgender star to be selected for a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photo shoot.

The magazine has also opened casting opportunities to members of the public through Swim Search in recent years – with people from all over the country and around the world signing up to be considered for a shoot in the spread.

Each year, the publication releases a list of finalists, and six models are then selected from that group to get a spot in the magazine. Often, one or two selected women are then offered a role as Rookie for the following year – such as last year’s winners, 28-year-old Georgetown graduate Tanaye White and 57-year-old Kathy Jacobs.

Kathy is one of the oldest women to ever pose in the magazine – although Christie Brinkley holds the official title, having last appeared in the magazine at the age of 63.

Other famous faces who have appeared on the cover include Chrissy Teigen, Elle Macpherson and Tyra Banks.

During this year’s Swim Search, the first-ever male model got the chance to appear in the publication: 21-year-old Lewis Freese, from Minneapolis, Minnesota.