Women Defying Stereotype Series: Aimee Mullins

When I first learned about the accomplishments of Aimee Mullins, I was astounded. She's an athlete, model, actress and motivational speaker who has shattered records as well as spoken at international companies and campuses. Her diverse achievements surpass what most try to achieve in a lifetime. Mullins has fulfilled these aspirations with hard work and determination. She has done all of this while overcoming a medical condition that resulted in the amputation of both of her legs when she was only a year old.

Born without fibulae in both of her legs, her outcome looked bleak but after making the decision to amputate below the knees, she was already walking with prosthetics by age two. Mullins grew up playing sports and participating in activities that "able-bodied" children were capable of carrying out. Her perseverance and positive attitude led her to make a career out of her athletic ability and in 1996, she competed in track and field at the Atlanta Paralympic Games. She joined Georgetown's nationally ranked Division I track team and was the first "disabled" woman to compete in the NCAA. Her training and specially carved prosthetics paid off as she went on to break world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter, as well as the long jump.

While Mullins' athleticism is impressive, she also boasts a phenomenal academic record. Mullins not only graduated high school with honors, but was one of three students in the U.S. selected for a full academic scholarship from the Department of Defense. By age 17, Mullins became the youngest person to obtain a top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon. On summer breaks, most young women would be outside enjoying the weather, but Mullins took a different approach working as an intelligence analyst with the U.S. government.

After Mullins was featured in Life magazine for her stance at the games in Atlanta, she was thrust into a realm of notoriety and opportunity. She has since graced the pages of Sports Illustrated for Women, been named one of Esquire’s “Women We Love” and People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.”

Mullins serves on various boards and contributes to a plethora of nonprofit organizations, including being appointed vice-president of J.O.B., the oldest employment service nonprofit in the U.S. serving persons with disabilities. She's hired by companies of all sorts to deliver motivational speeches on a range of topics from body image, equity in sports to inclusive design.

Mullins has even actively pursued an acting career landing roles in Cremaster 3, Agatha Christie's Poirot drama series on A&E, the blockbuster World Trade Center as a reporter, and Into the Woods.

No matter what Mullins does next, it will only add to her remarkable resume. She will forever be etched in history as a revolutionary and extraordinary woman.Images courtesy of Leslie Hassler, Luxist.com

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