Actor, athlete, model Aimee Mullins was born with fibular hemimelia (missing fibula bones) and, as a result, had both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was just a year old.  In an inspiring talk at the TED Conference she redefines the words beauty and disability.

My favorite quote – “Pamela Anderson has more prosthetics in her body than I do, no one calls her disable. 🙂

Her website:

“Born without fibulae in both legs, Aimee’s medical prognosis was bleak; she would never walk and indeed would spend the rest of her life using a wheelchair. In an attempt for an outside chance at independent mobility, doctors amputated both her legs below the knee on her first birthday. The decision paid off. By age two, she had learned to walk on prosthetic legs, and spent her childhood doing the usual athletic activities of her peers: swimming, biking, softball, soccer, and skiing, always alongside “able-bodied” kids.”

“After graduating high school with honors, Aimee was one of three students in the US chosen for a full academic scholarship from the Department of Defense, and at age 17 became the youngest person to hold a top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon. She worked there as an intelligence analyst during her summer breaks.”

“Through this partnership, she became the first woman with a “disability” to compete in the NCAA, doing so on Georgetown’s nationally-ranked Division I track team. Outfitted with woven carbon-fiber prostheses that were modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah, she went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump, sparking a frenzy over the radical design of her prototype sprinting legs.”

If you want to share, what do you think is your greatest disability?

Mine is self-centeredness .  I have had several relationships over my life.  None lasted.  I have been unable, unwilling, to give up any part of my personal freedom.

What do you think is your best ability?

I think mine is to see beauty in all life.  I am awed by the survival ability of rats and cockroaches.  If I was to take a bet on which species would survive I would put my money on the cockroach.  They even taste pretty good fried.

Maybe I could start a franchise, “Krispy Cockroaches”?