Aimee Mullins looks like a typical Hollywood bombshell. On the arm of her fiance, ‘Homeland’ star Rupert Friend at premiers and galas, she’s stunning.
But she is SO much more than a pretty face. She’s a world-record-breaking athlete, model, and actress. Oh, and she’s super smart. She attended Georgetown university on full academic scholarship and graduated in 1998, all while training for and winning international track and field competitions including the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta.
That’s right, paralympic.
Aimee Mullins is a double amputee. Born in 1976 with fibular hemimelia, a limb anomaly wherein there is partial or total absence of the fibula (shin) bones, she had both legs amputated below the knee when she was only a year old.
However, she never let that get in her way. Aimee’s first steps as a child were on prosthetic legs. She did all the ‘normal’ things you would think a kid would do and was highly active in sports using the standard wooden prosthetics available at the time. Aimee participated in track just like any able-bodied person. It never occurred to her that she was doing something remarkable. It wasn’t until she was a teen that she learned about specialized prosthetics for sports and became involved in events for those with disabilities.
At Georgetown, Aimee was the first disabled athlete to compete in NCAA Division I track and field against fully-abled athletes. She continued on to the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games where she set records for the 100 and 200-meter dash and in the long jump, an event which was never performed by double amputees.
Aimee never let her disability be a reason to not try something. Like… she’s modeled for Alexander McQueen. And how in 2002 she infamously starred in Matthew Barney’s iconic, eye-popping art film Cremaster 3.
“People presume my disability has to do with being an amputee, but that’s not the case; our insecurities are our disabilities, and I struggle with those as does everyone.”
One of the most noted talks she has given was at the Ted conference in 2009 titled “My 12 Pairs of Legs.” In it, she addresses how fantastic her life is to have such an opportunity to change herself and to be “superabled.”
Aimee will get you to think differently about adversity, disability, and what it means to be a hero.
Photo Credits: CC BY-SA 3.0 Aimee Mullins at 2008 Tribeca Film Festival by David Shankland / Phil Cole/ALLSPORT