Aimee Mullins at the premiere of Baby Mama at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.
July 20, 1976 |
|Sport||Track and field|
|Event(s)||Long jump, sprinting|
|College team||Georgetown University|
|Achievements and titles|
|Paralympic finals||1996 Paralympics|
Aimee Mullins (born 1976 in Allentown, Pennsylvania) is an American athlete, actress, and fashion model who first became famous for her athletic accomplishments. She was born with a medical condition that resulted in the amputation of both of her lower legs and has become one of the most prominent thinkers on the topic of prosthetic innovation.
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 one year old. A graduate of Parkland High School in Allentown and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., she took up sports and acting at an early stage.
Also while at Georgetown, Mullins won a place on the Foreign Affairs internship program, working at The Pentagon. She is in demand around the world to make appearances as a speaker on topics of body, identity, design, and innovation. Her TED conference talks are amongst the most-viewed of all time and have been translated into 41 languages. She is credited as being one of the speakers that inspired Chris Anderson to purchase the TED conference from Richard Saul Wurman. She was named a TED "All-Star" in 2014.
As a young softball player, she once held the youth league record for stolen bases in softball. She also raced in downhill skiing while in high school. While attending Georgetown University on a full academic scholarship to the prestigious School of Foreign Service there, she competed against able-bodied athletes in NCAA Division I track and field events, and is the first amputee in history, male or female, to compete in the NCAA. She was the first person in the world on the "Cheetah" carbon-fibre sprinting legs, and made that design iconic through her extensive global press coverage. She is widely regarded around the world as a sports pioneer, and was elected to represent all American female athletes from 2007-2009 as President of the Women's Sports Foundation, founded by fellow sports pioneer Billie Jean King.
Sports Illustrated magazine named her one of the "Coolest Girls in Sports".
Mullins competed in the Paralympics in 1996 in Atlanta, in which she ran the T42-46 class 100-meter sprint in 12.88 seconds and jumped 5.14 meters in the F42-46 class long-jump. Before retiring from competitive track and field in 1998, she had set World Records in the 100 m, 200 m and the long jump.
Honoring her achievement and cultural contribution to sport, Mullins is included as one of the "Greatest Women of the 20th Century" in the Women's Museum in Dallas, Texas.
Along with Teresa Edwards, Mullins was appointed Chef de Mission for the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. This role as "leader of the US delegation" is considered to be the greatest honor bestowed on an American by the United States Olympic Committee.
In 2012, she was appointed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the State Department's Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports, according to a State Department fact sheet.
In 1998, she launched her career as a successful model by starting on the runway. She modelled for British fashion designer Alexander McQueen by opening his London show, on a pair of hand-carved wooden prosthetic legs made from solid ash, with integral boots. She continued to be one of his muses until his death in 2010. She is able to change her height between 5 ft 8in and 6 ft 1in by changing her legs. She has been named one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world by People.
Mullins has been photographed by many notable photographers, including Nick Knight, Steven Klein, Bruce Weber, Walter Chin, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and Ellen von Unwerth. Her iconic cover of Dazed & Confused magazine, in 1998, led to features in fashion magazine staples like Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Vogue, i-D, Another, Numero, and Garage. She was on billboards across America as part of the "25 Years of Non-Uniform Thinking" campaign Kenneth Cole in 2009. She signed a major global contract to be a face of L'Oréal Paris and was appointed as a global L'Oréal Ambassador in February 2011. She joined fellow ambassadors Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Diane Keaton, Milla Jovovich, Claudia Schiffer, Laetitia Casta, Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, and Rachel Weisz.
In 2002, she starred in Matthew Barney's iconic art film Cremaster 3 as six different characters, most memorably a cheetah woman (the Entered Novitiate and Oonagh MacCumhail). Other film and TV credits include Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, Five Little Pigs with David Suchet and Aidan Gillen, Naked in a Fishbowl, Quid Pro Quo with Vera Farmiga and Nick Stahl, and Marvelous with Amy Ryan, Michael Shannon, Ewen Bremner and Martha Plimpton. In the River of Fundament, she continues her collaboration with Matthew Barney by starring as Isis in performances both live and filmed since 2007, with a rumoured release date some time in early 2014. She has roles in in-production titles Young Ones with Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning and Michael Shannon, The Being Experience with Terrence Howard, Famke Janssen and Alan Cumming, Rob the Mob with Nina Arianda, Samira Wiley, Michael Pitt and Andy Garcia, and Desiree Akhavan's debut feature Appropriate Behavior. She also starred in the NBC television show called Crossbones opposite John Malkovich.
Films and television
- 2002 - Cremaster 3 (Cremaster Cycle), film directed by Matthew Barney.
- 2003 - Five Little Pigs
- 2006 - Marvelous
- 2006 - World Trade Center
- 2008 - Quid Pro Quo
- 2013 - The Being Experience
- 2014 - Rob the Mob
- 2014 - Young Ones
- 2014 - Appropriate Behavior
- 2014 - STRYKA
- 2014 - Crossbones
- 2014 - River of Fundament
- 2014 - In Stereo
Mullins has been featured in the following books:
- Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art (2006) ISBN 978-0262101172
- Athlete (2002) ISBN 0-06-019553-3
- Laws of the Bandit Queens: 35 of the World's Most Revolutionary Women (2002) ISBN 0-609-80807-9
- Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle (2003) ISBN 978-0892072842
- Hello World: Where Design Meets Life (2013) ISBN 978-0241145302
- Love Looks Not With the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen (2012) ISBN 978-1419704482
- The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future - Smith and Morra (eds.) (2006) ISBN 0-262-19530-5
- On The Other Side Of The Lens - Images of Inspiration from 73 Cultural Icons (2003) ISBN 978-1904688068
- Behind Closed Doors (2013) ISBN 978-1742706528
- Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like?(2003) ISBN 978-0812968682
- Superwomen: 100 Women 100 Sports (2004) ISBN 978-0821228968
- Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011) ISBN 978-0300169782
- 100,000 Years of Beauty (2009) ISBN 978-2070128440
- Performance & Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity (2007) ISBN 978-1403999078
- 4 Inches (2005) ISBN 978-1902686516
- Design Meets Disability (2009) ISBN 978-0262162555
- VOGUE on Alexander McQueen ISBN 978-3899105674
- Fashion and Psychoanalysis: Styling the Self (2012) ISBN 978-1780760049
- Alexander McQueen: The Life and Legacy (2013) ISBN 978-0062284556
- Disability and Passing: Blurring the Lines of Identity (2013) ISBN 978-1439909805
- If I'd Known Then: Women in the 20s and 30s Write Letters to their Younger Selves (2009) ISBN 978-0738213071
- Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture (2004) ISBN 978-0520241299
- Philosophy Reader: Essays and Articles for Thought and Discussion (2011) ISBN 978-1461173786
- Disability and the Media: Prescriptions for Change (2005) ISBN 978-1584654735
- Experience-Centered Design: Designers, Users and Communities in Dialogue (2010) ISBN 978-1608450442
- The Disability Studies Reader (2006) ISBN 978-0415953344
- Glory: Photographs of Athletes (1999) ISBN 978-0688158989
- Matthew Barney: CREMASTER 3 (2003) ISBN 978-0892072538
- Nick Knight (2009) ISBN 978-0061714573
- Patrick Pittman (2011). "Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED - Conversations with Extraordinary People". New York: Dumbo Feather. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- Juliet Blake. "TED2014 All-Stars Line Up". Retrieved March 17, 2014.
- "IPC Historical Results Database". Paralympic.org. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- "IPC Historical Results Database". Paralympic.org. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- "Aimee Mullins named Chef de Mission for 2012 Paralympic Games". .teamusa.org. April 28, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- TED2009. "Aimee Mullins: It's not fair having 12 pairs of legs | Video on". Ted.com. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- "People Issue". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "People Article". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "Dazed and Confused 1998 photo". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "Kenneth Cole 2009 Campaign". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "L'Oreal publicity Feb 2011". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
- "Aimee Mullins - The Colbert Report - 2010-15-04 - Video Clip - Comedy Central". April 15, 2010.
- Radnor, Abigail (February 15, 2014). "What I've Learnt". London: The Times. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
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