At first glance, Aimée Mullins seems like the quintessential middle-class “hometown girl made famous.” On the surface, her bio reads like this:
Hailing form Allentown, Pennsylvania, Aimée Mullins played softball, she raced in downhill skiing in High School, delivered the local newspaper, won a scholarship to Georgetown University’s School for Foreign Service. Oh, and she ran track and field at Georgetown. She competed in world-class races, became an Olympian, was recognized in Sports Illustrated magazine, did some acting, did some modeling,
and so on…
Wonderful accomplishments, to be sure, but some might think that these are only somewhat better than average accomplishments for a talented, wholesome, beautiful young American woman born into opportunity… until that second glance.
Opportunity vs. Adversity
Upon second glance, you learn that Aimée Mullins was born with a challenging condition called fibular hemimelia—which basically means she was born missing her fibula bones. The doctor who delivered her told her parents she would never walk and would need life-long care. As a result of the condition, at age one, amputation of both legs below the knee was the only option.
However, that was only the beginning of Aimée’s story, you see, Aimée believes you achieve great things “because of” adversity and not “in spite of” it. For Aimee, the grind has proven over and over to hone the edge of her success. That is her life experience.
Now, review that list of accomplishments from your first glance:
- She played softball in the regular youth league and even won the record for stolen bases—on prosthetics.
- At Georgetown University, she competed against able-bodied athletes in NCAA Division I track and field events and is the first double-amputee in history, of any gender, to compete in the NCAA.
- Majoring in History and Diplomacy at Georgetown, at age 17, she became the youngest person to ever hold a top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon, where she worked as an intelligence analyst during her summer breaks.
- She was the first athlete in the world to utilize the “Cheetah” woven-carbon-fiber prosthetic sprinting “blades;” she went on to compete in the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta and was profiled in LIFE magazine and the inaugural issue of Sports Illustrated for Women.
- More than an athlete, Aimée delved into the world of modeling in 1999 as a fashion model for British design Alexander McQueen, opening his legendary London show on decoratively-carved wooden prosthetics designed to look like boots. Featured in dozens of magazines, People named her one of “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.”
- In 2002, she boldly stepped into film as a cheetah woman (and five other characters) in Matthew Barney’s art film, Cremaster 3.
- Regarded in the world of sports as a pioneer, Mullins was elected to represent all American female athletes as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation—an organization founded by another pioneer in women’s sports, Billie Jean King—from 2007-2009.
- And, while Sports Illustrated named her one of the “Coolest Girls in Sports,” she is also listed as one of the “Greatest Women of the 20th Century” in the Women’s Museum in Dallas, Texas where one of her blade prosthetics is on display.
- A 2009 Kenneth Cole campaign initiative called “25 Years of Non-Uniform Thinking” saw Mullin’s image splashed across billboards nationwide.
- In February 2011, she passed another cultural milestone by being named as the new Global Brand Ambassador to the beauty brand L’Oreal Paris.
- On the international stage, she was appointed, along with Teresa Edwards, as Chef de Mission for the United states at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. This role, considered by the United States Olympic Committee to be its highest honor, conferred the position of “leader of the U.S. delegation” to the Games.
- Also in 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Mullins to the Empower Women and Girls Through Sports Council.
To-date, Mullins has more than 16 film and television credits, has been featured in dozens of books and magazines, and interviewed on dozens of talk shows. Her likeness graces exhibits in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.; both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Track and Field Hall of Fame in New York City; the NCAA Hall of Fame in Indianapolis, Indiana; the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as the Tate Modern, in London; and the Women’s Museum, in Dallas, Texas.
Mullin’s appearances on TED Talks have garnered huge followings with transcripts now translated into more than 30 languages.
In 2016, Aimée married English actor Rupert Friend, perhaps known best for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of Peter Quinn on the Showtime hit series Homeland.
This spring, don’t miss YOUR opportunity as Aimée shares her story with the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices family. We’re sure you’ll be riveted by her relentless drive, intrigued by her challenges and inspired to reach your own heights. Register today!