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Aimee Mullins Has Become an Icon for Amputees by Embracing Her Physical Disability

Aimee Mullins at the Tribeca Film Festival Premiere. She embraces her physical disability on the red carpet.
Rubenstein | Flickr

Aimee Mullins is an American athlete, actress, and fashion model and is inspiring others to embrace their own bodies as something beautiful and something to be proud of. After her leg amputations below the knee at the young age of 1, Mullins quickly learned how to gain confidence in her unique physical state.

While growing up in Pennsylvania, Mullins was never introduced to other amputees. To feel as though she were able to do as many activities as her peers, she refused to see her physical disability as anything other than normal. She never used crutches or a wheelchair and worked hard to embrace her legs as tools for her success.

Aimee Mullins at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival wearing a yellow dress.
David Shankbone | Wikimedia Commons

Mullins has spoken to many about her battle against stereotypes and shared a story of her experience in overcoming such challenges in a speech she made at a storytelling event hosted by Moth Mainstage.

As a young girl, Mullins had been treated as though she had to hide her physical appearance in order to be socially accepted. A prevalent moment in her memory was a time when Mullins got to dress up in her nicest outfit to attend church on Easter Sunday. She recounts, walking down the stairs, beaming with pride. Mullins felt good in her new outfit, but once down the stairs, she met the disapproving face of her father. He told Mullins to change her dress because he believed that the length was inappropriately revealing the knee joint of her prosthetic legs. But she refused because she did not want to hide a part of herself just because it might make others feel uncomfortable. This was the moment when she started to accept herself for who she was and realized it shouldn’t matter to anyone else.

In her speech on the Moth Mainstage, Mullins describes how she felt the moment she realised she was going to have to embrace her physical differences. “I’m not normal, I’m never going to be normal, but I’ve got strengths and I’ve got weaknesses. I am who I am.”

Mullins has accomplished many honors and awards through her hard work in her modeling and sports careers. She was named one of “The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World” by People Magazine. As a gold medalist Paralympic athlete and World Record setter, Mullins achieved the title of “Chef de Mission” of Team USA for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Mullins described her mindset she has had while working towards breaking stereotypes and disproving false concepts of physical ability.

“My entire life, people have tried to tell me what I’m never going to be able to do. But I realised early on they were wrong,” said Mullins.

The power and self-confidence shining through Mullins, motivated a six-year-old girl to embrace her own prosthetic leg after living through many orthotist operations. Mullins got to meet this girl and get to know her story.

The young girl showed Mullins “her cool new leg.” Mullins described the girl’s expression as showing that “she was proud of it. She was proud of herself.”

Aimee Mullins now invites others to join her as she celebrates what makes her different to gain creative power in herself.

By: Sydney Murphy

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