Aimee Mullins

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Aimee Mullins
Aimee Mullins by David Shankbone.jpg
Mullins at the Tribeca Film Festival, 2008
Personal information
BornAllentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
(m. 2016)
SportTrack and field
Event(s)Long jump, sprinting
College teamGeorgetown University
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals1996 Paralympics

Aimee Mullins is an American athlete, actress, and public speaker. She was born with a medical condition that resulted in the amputation of both of her lower legs. She is the first amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in National Collegiate Athletic Association events, and competed in the Paralympics in 1996 in Atlanta. In 1999 she began modeling, and in 2002 she began an acting career. She speaks at conferences, and is well known for her TED Talks.

Early life[edit]

Mullins was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania to Irish father Bernard Mullins from Crusheen, County Clare, Ireland, and mother Bernadette Mullins. She was born with fibular hemimelia, missing fibula bones). As a result, both her legs were amputated below the knee when she was one year old. Her parents were told she would likely use a wheelchair for the rest of her life and never walk, but by the age of two she had learned to walk with prosthetic legs. She took up sports and acting at an early age.

Mullins attended high school at Parkland High School in Allentown, and then was one of three students awarded a scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. As a student at Georgetown, she was one of three students to win an internship with a foreign affairs program at The Pentagon.



Aimee Mullins' prosthetic leg shown at CCCB exhibit in Barcelona, October 2015

While attending Georgetown University on a full academic scholarship to the School of Foreign Service there, she competed against able-bodied athletes in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I track and field events, and is the first female amputee in history to compete in the NCAA. She was the first amputee in history (male or female) to compete in Division I NCAA track and field.

Mullins competed in the Paralympics in 1996 in Atlanta, in which she ran the T42-46 class 100-meter sprint in 17.01 seconds[1] and jumped 3.14 meters in the F42-46 class long-jump,.[2] She retired from competitive track and field in 1998.


She was elected to represent all American female athletes from 2007 to 2009 as President of the Women's Sports Foundation, founded by sports pioneer Billie Jean King. She remains a member of the board of Trustees and Athlete Advisory Panel for the Women Sports Foundation.[3] Sports Illustrated magazine named her one of the "Coolest Girls in Sports".[when?] Mullins is included as one of the "Greatest Women of the 20th Century" in the Women's Museum in Dallas, Texas.[citation needed]

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.[4]

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.[5]

Fashion model[edit]

In 1999, 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 is able to change her height between 5 ft 8in and 6 ft 1in by changing her legs.[6] She was on billboards across America as part of the "25 Years of Non-Uniform Thinking" campaign Kenneth Cole in 2009. She signed a contract to be a face of L'Oréal Paris and was appointed as a global L'Oréal Ambassador in February 2011.[7]

Film and television[edit]

In 2002, she starred in Matthew Barney's art film Cremaster 3 as six different characters, including a cheetah woman. Other film and TV credits include roles in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, Poirot 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, released in early 2014. She has roles in 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 acted in the NBC television show Crossbones opposite John Malkovich, and in the 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".[8]

Public speaker[edit]

Mullins makes appearances as a speaker on topics related to body, identity, design, and innovation. Her TED conference talks 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.[9] She was named a TED "All-Star" in 2014.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Mullins began dating English actor Rupert Friend in 2013.[11] They became engaged in May 2014,[12] and married on May 1, 2016.[13]


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


Year Title Role Notes
2003 Cremaster 3 The Entered Novitiate
2006 Marvelous Becka
2006 World Trade Center Reporter
2008 Quid Pro Quo Raine
2013 In the Woods
2014 Rob the Mob Carrie
2014 Young Ones Katherine Holm
2014 Appropriate Behavior Sasha
2014 River of Fundament The Ka of Norman / Isis
2015 STRYKA Stryka Short film
2015 In Stereo Trisha Bontecou
2017 Rufus Celia Short film
2018 Unsane Ashley Brighterhouse
2019 Drunk Parents Heidi Bianchi


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Cremaster 3 The Entered Novitiate / Oonagh MacCumhail
2003 Agatha Christie's Poirot Lucy Crale Episode: "Five Little Pigs"
2011 Naked in a Fishbowl Nance Episode: "The Bold and the Bucious"
2014 Crossbones Antoinette / Woman in White / The Woman-In-White 4 episodes
2015 The Mysteries of Laura Connie Baker Episode: "The Mystery of the Exsanguinated Ex"
2015 Power Ellen Wenrich Episode: "Ghost Is Dead"
2016 Limitless Dr. Peri Episode: "Hi, My Name Is Rebecca Harris"
2016–2017 Stranger Things Terry / Teresa Ives 6 episodes
2017 Odd Mom Out Annabelle Hughes Episode: "Homo Erectus"
2019 Bull Alice Yarrow Episode: "Billboard Justice"
2020 Devs Anya 3 episodes
2020 MacGyver Jess Miller Episode: "Thief + Painting + Auction + Viro-486 + Justice"
TBA Extrapolations Secretary of State Garrett Upcoming series


In 2017, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[14]

On May 4, 2018, she received an honorary degree and gave the commencement address at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.[15]


  1. ^ "IPC Historical Results Database". Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  2. ^ "IPC Historical Results Database". Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  3. ^ "Aimee Mullins". Women's Sports Foundation. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  4. ^ "Aimee Mullins named Chef de Mission for 2012 Paralympic Games". April 28, 2011. Archived from the original on August 4, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  5. ^ "The U.S. Department of State's Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports". U.S. Department of State. June 21, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  6. ^ TED2009. "Aimee Mullins: It's not fair having 12 pairs of legs | Video on". Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  7. ^ "L'Oreal publicity Feb 2011". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  8. ^ "The Colbert Report". Comedy Central. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  9. ^ Patrick Pittman (2011). "Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED – Conversations with Extraordinary People". New York: Dumbo Feather. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  10. ^ Juliet Blake. "TED2014 All-Stars Line Up". Archived from the original on March 21, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  11. ^ Radnor, Abigail (February 15, 2014). "What I've Learnt". The Times. London. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  12. ^ Dowd, Maureen (November 26, 2015). "Maureen Dowd gives thanks for befriending Rupert Friend's stunning girlfriend". Irish Central.
  13. ^ Petit, Stephanie. "Surprise! Rupert Friend and Aimee Mullins Secretly Got Married One Month Ago". People.
  14. ^ Posted: September 17, 2017, 12:53 AM EDT (September 17, 2017). "Ten women added to National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca". Retrieved September 28, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients". Retrieved May 2, 2018.

External links[edit]