Aimee Mullins

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Aimee Mullins
Aimee Mullins by David Shankbone.jpg
Mullins at the premiere of Baby Mama at Tribeca Film Festival in 2008.
Personal information
Born (1975-07-20) July 20, 1975 (age 44)
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Rupert Friend (m. 2016)
SportTrack and field
Event(s)Long jump, sprinting
College teamGeorgetown University
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals1996 Paralympics

Aimee Mullins (born July 20, 1975) 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 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She 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. In exchange for her scholarship, she was obliged to work seven years for the state, a commitment she did not finish.[1]



Aimee Mullins' prosthetic leg shown at CCCB exhibit in Barcelona

While attending Georgetown University on a full academic scholarship to the School of Foreign Service there, she competed against able-bodied athletes in 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[2] and jumped 3.14 meters in the F42-46 class long-jump,[3] placing last in both events. She retired from competitive track and field in 1998.

She was elected to represent all American female athletes from 2007-2009 as President of the Women's Sports Foundation, founded by sports pioneer Billie Jean King.

Sports Illustrated magazine named her one of the "Coolest Girls in Sports".[when?]

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.[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 launched her career as a 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 is able to change her height between 5 ft 8in and 6 ft 1in by changing her legs.[6] 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 cover of Dazed & Confused magazine, in 1998,[7] led to features in fashion magazine staples like Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Vogue, i-D, Another, Numero, and Garage Magazine.[8] 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.[9]

Film and Television[edit]

In 2002, she starred in Matthew Barney's 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 roles in 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 acted 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".[10]

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.[11] She was named a TED "All-Star" in 2014.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Mullins began dating English actor Rupert Friend in 2013.[13] They became engaged in May 2014,[14] and married on May 1, 2016.[15]


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


Year Title Role Notes
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
2018 Drunk Parents Heidi Bianchi


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Cremaster 3 The Entered Novitiate / Oonagh MacCumhail
2003 Five Little Pigs Lucy Crale
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/Terresa Ives 6 episodes
2017 Odd Mom Out Annabelle Hughes Episode: "Homo Erectus"


Mullins has been featured in the following books:

  • Movie Lust: Recommended Viewing for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason (2006) ISBN 978-1570614781
  • Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art (2006) ISBN 978-0262101172
  • Athlete (2002) ISBN 0-06-019553-3
  • The Book of Firsts: 150 World-Changing People and Events...(2006) ISBN 978-0307388438
  • 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
  • Fashion Design (2002) ISBN 9781856696197
  • 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
  • Making Her Mark: Firsts and Milestones in Women's Sports (2002) ISBN 978-0071390538
  • 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
  • Fashion Now (2003) ISBN 978-3836536141
  • 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
  • Contemporary Gothic (2007) ISBN 978-1861893017
  • Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations, and Analysis (2001) ISBN 978-0415680066
  • Fashion As Photograph: Viewing and Reviewing Images of Fashion (2008) ISBN 978-1845115173
  • Heroines of Sport: The Politics of Difference and Identity (2001) Page Source ISBN 0415228484
  • The Lure of the Object (Clark Studies in the Visual Arts)(2006) ISBN 978-0300103373


In 2017, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[16]

On May 4, 2018, she received an honorary degree and gave the commencement address at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.[17]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "IPC Historical Results Database". Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  3. ^ "IPC Historical Results Database". Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  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 6 December 2014.
  6. ^ TED2009. "Aimee Mullins: It's not fair having 12 pairs of legs | Video on". Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  7. ^ "Dazed and Confused 1998 photo". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  8. ^ "Aimee Mullins – Detail by Year". New York, NY: Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "L'Oreal publicity Feb 2011". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  10. ^ "The Colbert Report". Comedy Central. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  11. ^ Patrick Pittman (2011). "Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED – Conversations with Extraordinary People". New York: Dumbo Feather. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  12. ^ Juliet Blake. "TED2014 All-Stars Line Up". Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  13. ^ Radnor, Abigail (February 15, 2014). "What I've Learnt". London: The Times. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  14. ^ Dowd, Maureen (2015-11-26). "Maureen Dowd gives thanks for befriending Rupert Friend's stunning girlfriend". Irish Central.
  15. ^ Petit, Stephanie. "Surprise! Rupert Friend and Aimee Mullins Secretly Got Married One Month Ago". People.
  16. ^ Posted: Sep 17, 2017 12:53 AM EDT (2017-09-17). "Ten women added to National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca". Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  17. ^ "Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients". Retrieved 2018-05-02.

External links[edit]