To be an actress, a model, a global ambassador for one for the world’s largest make up companies, and an Olympic gold medallist is a great achievement for anyone. It’s even greater when you were born without fibula bones, and had your legs amputated beneath the knee when you were a baby. This is Aimee Mullin’s story.
Aimee, 35, was born without the bones in her shins, and doctors told her parents she would never walk unless she had them amputated. The risk paid off, and in 1996 she set world records for the 100m and 200m sprints, and currently owns the World Record for the Paralympic Amputee Long Jump- all whilst wearing carbon fibre prosthetics modelled on the hind legs of a cheetah.
Her ambitions didn’t stop there: ‘A lot of my life is about will – having the will to prove what my body can do,’ Aimee says. ‘It is such an incredible thing to be able to test yourself to those limits. Being an athlete is something very private that you do in a public way – and acting is similar.’ She has starred in a few movies, namely art-house film Cremaster 3, and wants to continue with this later on.
Her name was cast onto the scene more than 12 years ago, when Alexander McQueen took an interest in her. He realised her individuality, and came up with an innovative way of celebrating it. His idea was to replace her prosthetics with a pair of intricately carved wooden boots. As she walked the catwalk at London Fashion Week, critics assumed that she was simply a new face. Later when the news leaked, McQueen was accused of turning his fashion show into a freak show, and Aimee was labelled as ‘the new disabled supermodel’, which she hated. Ever since, her ambition has been to shed the disabled tag. ‘And now it has happened,’ she says. ‘With L’Oréal, I get to be Aimee Mullins, model. No qualifier. And that means everything to me.’
L’Oréal Paris has recruited Aimee to join Beyonce, Cheryl Cole, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Lopez as a global ambassador, a role that means she can speak publicly about the growing concerns of body image to millions of people – one of Aimee’s lifetime goals. Many years ago, she was introduced to the prosthetist who supplies limbs to the British Paralympic team, and has hailed him ‘the best in the world’. She has 5 different heel heights, so her footwear can range from flats to stilettos, and they come complete with freckles and hair follicles. No wonder people find it hard to believe that they aren’t real!
With such an interesting story, Aimee Mullins is a very focused and inspirational lady to men and women alike.
Georgia Carr, Year 8