Aimee Mullins

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Aimee Mullins
Aimee Mullins by David Shankbone.jpg
Mullins at the premiere of Baby Mama at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.
Personal information
Nationality American
Born (1976-07-20) July 20, 1976 (age 40)
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Spouse(s) Rupert Friend (m. 2016)
Sport Track and field
Event(s) Long jump, sprinting
College team Georgetown University
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals 1996 Paralympics

Aimee Mullins (born July 20, 1975 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.

Early life[edit]

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 age.

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 42 languages. She is credited as being one of the speakers that inspired Chris Anderson to purchase the TED conference from Richard Saul Wurman.[1] She was named a TED "All-Star" in 2014.[2]

With her paternal family in County Clare, she is a first generation Irish-American and holds citizenship in both the United States and Ireland.[citation needed]



Aimee Mullins leg shown at CCCB exhibit in Barcelona

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 17.01 seconds[3] and jumped 3.14 meters in the F42-46 class long-jump.[4] Mullins retired from competitive track and field in 1998.

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.[5] This role as "leader of the U.S. 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.[6]

Fashion model[edit]

In 1999, 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.[7] She has been named one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world by People.[8][9]

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,[10] led to features in fashion magazine staples like Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Vogue, i-D, Another, Numero, and Garage Magazine.[11] She was on billboards across America as part of the "25 Years of Non-Uniform Thinking" campaign Kenneth Cole in 2009.[12] 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.[13] 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, and is in the new Netflix series Stranger Things with Winona Ryder.

She appeared on The Colbert Report on April 15, 2010 and declared having 12 pairs of prosthetic legs, with some "in museums".[14]

Personal life[edit]

Mullins began dating English actor Rupert Friend in 2013.[15] They became engaged in May 2014,[16] and married on May 1, 2016.[17]

Films and television[edit]

Aimee Mullins watches fellow bilateral amputee Hugh Herr climb the wall at the MIT Media Lab's h2.0 symposium on May 9, 2007


Mullins has been featured in the following books:


  1. ^ Patrick Pittman (2011). "Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED - Conversations with Extraordinary People". New York: Dumbo Feather. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ Juliet Blake. "TED2014 All-Stars Line Up". Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ "IPC Historical Results Database". Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ "IPC Historical Results Database". Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Aimee Mullins named Chef de Mission for 2012 Paralympic Games". April 28, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ "The U.S. Department of State's Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports". U.S. Department of State. June 21, 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  7. ^ TED2009. "Aimee Mullins: It's not fair having 12 pairs of legs | Video on". Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ "People Issue". Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ "People Article". Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Dazed and Confused 1998 photo". Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Aimee Mullins - Detail by Year". New York, NY: Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Kenneth Cole 2009 Campaign". Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  13. ^ "L'Oreal publicity Feb 2011". Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Aimee Mullins - The Colbert Report - 2010-15-04 - Video Clip - Comedy Central". April 15, 2010. 
  15. ^ Radnor, Abigail (February 15, 2014). "What I've Learnt". London: The Times. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  16. ^ Dowd, Maureen (2015-11-26). "Maureen Dowd gives thanks for befriending Rupert Friend's stunning girlfriend". Irish Central. 
  17. ^ Petit, Stephanie. "Surprise! Rupert Friend and Aimee Mullins Secretly Got Married One Month Ago". People. 

External links[edit]