A record-breaker at the Paralympic Games in 1996, Aimee Mullins has built a career as a model, actor and advocate for women, sports and the next generation of prosthetics.

Why you should listen

Aimee Mullins was born without fibular bones, and had both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was an infant. She learned to walk on prosthetics, then to run -- competing at the national and international level as a champion sprinter, and setting world records at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. At Georgetown, where she double-majored in history and diplomacy, she became the first double amputee to compete in NCAA Division 1 track and field.

After school, Mullins did some modeling -- including a legendary runway show for Alexander McQueen -- and then turned to acting, appearing as the Leopard Queen in Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle. In 2008 she was the official Ambassador for the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

She's a passionate advocate for a new kind of thinking about prosthetics, and recently mentioned to an interviewer that she's been looking closely at MIT's in-development powered robotic ankle, "which I fully plan on having."

What others say

“the most amazing part [of MIT's h2.0 conference] was a talk by aimee mullins, an athlete, a model and an actress with both legs amputated below the knees. she compared prosthetic legs to eyeglasses, and in the same way that we wear designer eyeglasses she has designer legs (she was wearing her 4-inch heel legs for the talk). she made it clear that with enough attitude you could pull off anything as she left the crowd dumbstruck with her presence.” — hyperexperience.com

Aimee Mullins’ TED talks

Aimee Mullins on the TED Blog
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Design

Accessible design in prosthetics

April 3, 2009

In her inspiring 2009 TEDTalk, Aimee Mullins redefines what the body can be. Her prosthetic legs are a combination of form, function and aesthetic. She encourages designers to change the idea of “disability” and the definition of beauty by bringing their talents to both the science and the art of designing prosthetics. In the comments […]

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TED celebrates women in technology today

March 24, 2009

In January, Suw Charman-Anderson declared March 24 Ada Lovelace Day — a day to celebrate female role models in technology. She asked other bloggers to help her celebrate “a woman in technology whom I admire.” Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is best known for writing a description of the Analytical Engine, a mechanical general-purpose computer designed by […]

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Quotes from Aimee Mullins

From an identity standpoint, what does it mean to have a disability? Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do. Nobody calls her disabled.
Aimee Mullins
TED2009 • 2.4M views Mar 2009
Inspiring, Beautiful
Adversity isn’t an obstacle that we need to get around in order to resume living our life. It’s part of our life. I think of it like my shadow — sometimes I see a lot of it, sometimes there’s very little, but it’s always with me.
Aimee Mullins
TEDMED 2009 • 1.5M views Feb 2010
Inspiring, Courageous
There’s an important difference and distinction between the objective medical fact of my being an amputee and the subjective societal opinion of whether or not I’m disabled. Truthfully, the only real and consistent disability I’ve had to confront is the world ever thinking that I could be described by those definitions.
Aimee Mullins
TEDMED 2009 • 1.5M views Feb 2010
Inspiring, Courageous