Mullins has excelled in multiple fields, inspiring people around the world as an athlete, actor, model and speaker. As the first double amputee in history to compete in Division 1 NCAA track and field, she then competed for Team USA in the 1996 Paralympic Games and has set world records in the 100 metres, 200 metres, and long jump events.
Aimée went on to become a lauded runway and editorial fashion model and was named a global brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris in 2011. Over the past decade, she has acted in film and television shows, including the Netflix mega-hit Stranger Things, and has multiple feature films in development as a producer.
In 2012, Mullins was named Chef de Mission for the US at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London. That same year she was appointed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports.
Her prolific work for non-profit organizations is matched by her frequent public speaking appearances on topics related to the body, identity, design, and innovation, and her famous TED Talks have been translated into 42 languages. In 2017, she became one of the youngest-ever inductees into the United States’ National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2019, she inducted Jane Fonda into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Aimée is currently on the hugely successful, Emmy-nominated Netflix series Stranger Things, which is now the most searched for title in Netflix history. 8.2 million people watched the entire series in the first sixteen days. In 2019, she stars in FX’s new series, Devs, set in Silicon Valley.
Aimée has also acted in a varied range of film and television roles alongside such talent as Rupert Friend, Vera Farmiga, Michael Shannon and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Aimée’s film debut was a starring role in the highly acclaimed film Cremaster 3, by contemporary artist Matthew Barney, first presented in the US at the Guggenheim Museum in 2003. The Guardian called it “one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema.”
She continued her work with Barney in River of Fundament, an adaptation of Norman Mailer’s novel ‘Ancient Evenings’, in which she starred as Isis. Chronicling the seven stages of a soul’s journey from death to rebirth, each filmed chapter is also accompanied by a one-time only live performance. The work, a six-hour operatic epic, premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music in February 2014.
Aimée first received worldwide media attention as an athlete. Born without fibulae in both legs, Aimée’s medical prognosis was discouraging; she was told she would never walk and would likely spend the rest of her life using a wheelchair. In an attempt for an outside chance at independent mobility, doctors amputated both her legs below the knee on her first birthday. The decision paid off. By age two, she had learned to walk on prosthetic legs, and spent her childhood swimming, biking, skiing, playing softball and soccer with everyone else.
After graduating high school with honors, Aimée was one of three students in the US chosen for a full academic scholarship from the Department of Defense, and at age 17 became the youngest person to hold a top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon, where she worked as an intelligence analyst.
While a Dean’s list student at the prestigious School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, she set her sights on making the US Team for the 1996 Atlanta Games. She enlisted the expertise of Frank Gagliano, one of the country’s most respected track coaches. Through this partnership, she became the first woman with a “disability” to compete in the NCAA, doing so on Georgetown’s nationally-ranked Division I track team.
Aimée set her sights on becoming the fastest woman in the world on prosthetic legs, and began to wonder why legs made for sprinting wouldn’t be modeled on those of the fastest land animal, rather than just those of a human. Working in collaboration with a cutting-edge biomedical engineer and a visionary prosthetist she went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump, outfitted with woven carbon-fiber prostheses that were modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah.
These legs, which Aimée was the first to wear, are now the international standard for amputee runners.
After a profile in Life magazine showcased her in the starting blocks at Atlanta, the world took notice. Aimée soon landed a 10-page feature in the inaugural issue of Sports Illustrated for Women, which led to her accepting numerous invitations to speak at international design conferences.
The discourse regarding aesthetic principles sparked Aimée’s interest in issues relating to body image and how fashion advertising impacted standard notions of femininity and beauty. In 1998, Aimée made her runway debut in London at the invitation of one of the world’s most celebrated fashion designers, Alexander McQueen. Walking alongside the supermodels of the world, Aimée’s groundbreaking, triumphant turn propelled her onto the magazine covers of ID and Dazed and Confused.
After then making her mark in the highest echelons of the fashion press (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Glamour, and Elle), she was also named as one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World”, Esquire’s “Women We Love,” Jane magazine’s “10 Gutsiest Women,” Sports Illustrated’s “Coolest Girls in Sport,” and was celebrated as the “Hottest Muse” in Rolling Stone’s annual Hot List. In 2011, she was named as the new Global Brand Ambassador to the world’s largest beauty brand L’Oréal Paris, another cultural milestone.
An influential voice in today’s culture, she is regularly invited to share her ideas at global conferences, such as the world-famous TED conferences, where she is one of their most popular speakers and was named a TED All-Star. Her talks have been translated into 41 languages and have been seen by millions of viewers worldwide.
In 2012 she was designated a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In 2017, Aimée was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame joining fellow honorees “whose leadership and achievements have changed the course of American history.”
Aimée serves on the boards of various non-profit organizations, most notably the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, of which Aimée was elected President from 2007 to 2009. Aimée also had four years as Vice-President for the nation’s oldest non-profit employment service for persons with disabilities, ‘Just One Break’. She was the first woman on the board since the organization was founded in 1947 by Eleanor Roosevelt. As Secretary of State in 2012, Hillary Clinton appointed her to the State Department’s ‘Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports’.
Aimée’s impact on modern society and her influence on future generations is undeniable.
Her likeness has been immortalized in exhibits at institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the NCAA Hall of Fame, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Modern, the Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Women’s Museum, where she is honored for her contribution to sport among the “Greatest American Women of the 20th Century.” In 2017, the National Women’s Hall of Fame inducted Aimée, making her one of the youngest honorees ever to receive this distinction. In 2018, she received an Honorary Doctorate from Northeastern University and delivered their commencement speech which garnered a standing ovation from the audience of 22,000. In 2019, Aimée delivered the commencement speech at Concordia University and inducted Jane Fonda into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Curiosity, Connection & Chaos: Concordia University 2019 - starts at 3 min 20 seconds into footage link
Aimee inducts Jane Fonda into National Women's Hall of Fame - starts at 43 minutes into footage
The Power of Naivete, Curiosity & Daydreaming - Commencement Speaker at Northeastern Univ 2018
TED: The opportunity of adversity
TED 2014 All Stars, "Daydreaming"
TED: It's not fair having 12 pairs of legs
Kenneth Cole: We All Walk In Different Shoes
L'Oreal Paris: One True Match
The Making of Aimee Mullins / L'Oreal Paris
SHOWstudio: In Fashion, Aimee Mullins
5 Things You Need To Know: Aimee Mullins
Metropolitan Museum of Art – Chat format
1999 Alexander McQueen Runway Show
“Aimée was a huge hit at our user conference. She received a higher score in our attendee survey than any of the other 12 guest speakers we have featured. Her inspirational story and story-telling skill exceeded our very high expectations. We provided a rewarding and memorable experience for our customers. Thank you very much, Aimée!”
– Chief Marketing Officer, Guidewire Software
“Aimée’s keynote was a huge success at our event! She was the closing keynote and received a standing ovation. Many people have continued to reach out to relay how inspiring she was and what an impact she made on them that continues to resonate. She did an excellent job at weaving our overall theme into her talk, as well as speaking to topics relayed by earlier speakers. Her presence, passion, honesty and vulnerability are the perfect combination that reaches out, grabs the crowd, and keeps them engaged. If you have the chance to book her or hear her speak – don’t miss the opportunity.”
TOPICS & FORMAT
Aimée’s presentation is a full 60 minutes in length. For a more unique experience, Aimée is often hosted for interactive, hour-long Q&A sessions with a moderator and the audience, especially when audiences include children or are open/promoted to the public. Audiences truly enjoy the opportunity to engage in a free-ranging question and answer session, drawn from their own lives and challenges, and Aimée enjoys the dynamic, highly personalized format. The result is the creation of a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
Aimée’s core topic is Embracing Adversity as described below.
As the pace of business accelerates and established industries spin-off, evolve or die, executives face a world far more complex than that of even a decade ago. Competition, technology, paradigm shifts and globalization make “business as usual” more like “crisis as usual.” As organizations face these challenges, leaders must continually decide how to respond. Turning away is not an option… so how can challenges be addressed in new ways? How can adverse conditions be viewed with curiosity and wonder? Is it possible for your business to thrive when your industry overall is in survival mode?
Aimée Mullins will share how she has chosen to answer these questions and how every individual can adopt the mindset that adversity and change are not to be dreaded, but actually welcomed as exciting parts of today’s “new normal.” From this vantage point, Aimée will share how she creates her path to success by taking the audience on a journey through some of the critical decision points she faced in her life — a life that has seen experiences at the Pentagon, the Olympics, in business, acting, modeling and as the President of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Most importantly, through Aimée’s experiences, listeners will see their personal and professional challenges through a powerful new lens and learn to respond to them in even more authentic, effective and meaningful ways.
PHOTOS & OTHER RESOURCES
Download: TIF file (65MB) ©HEAD –Genève, Michel Giesbrecht
©HEAD –Genève, Michel Giesbrecht
Download: TIF file (44MB) ©HEAD –Genève, Michel Giesbrecht
©HEAD –Genève, Michel Giesbrecht
Download: True Match (3MB)
Kenneth Willardt for L'Oreal
Download: Full length (1MB)
Download: Official headshot (.5MB)
Download: Color headshot (4MB)
Download: Action shot (.5MB)
Download: Side action shot (.5MB)
Download: Black and White Partial Bodyshot 1 (2.6MB)
Kenneth Willardt for L'Oréal Paris
Download: Black and White Partial Bodyshot 2 (3MB)
Kenneth Willardt for L'Oréal Paris
Download: Color Headshot (4.7MB)
Sébastien Calvet for L'Oréal Paris
Download: Color Partial Bodyshot (3.5MB)
Sébastien Calvet for L'Oréal Paris
Download: Other Iconic Images
Howard Schatz & Lynn Johnson. Permission and licensing rights required.
As a student at Georgetown University, she became the first amputee in history to compete in the NCAA and was the first person ever to be outfitted with woven carbon-fiber sprinting prostheses. She then went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump. In 1998, she made her debut as a fashion model for Alexander McQueen, and became a Global Brand Ambassador for L’Oréal Paris. She made her acting debut in 2003 and has built a career in film and television, acting alongside such notables as John Malkovich, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ellen Burstyn, Paul Giamatti, and Elle Fanning. Aimée has spoken multiple times at the world-famous TED conference, is a TED All-Star and her footage has been viewed more than 7 million times. Please join me in welcoming: Athlete, model, actor, and advocate, Aimée Mullins.
BEHIND THE SCENES
High Resolution version of this photo is available – please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request permission to use.
All about Aimee:
- She makes her primary home in New York City
- Her first major film role was in Matthew Barney’s The Cremaster Cycle
- Aimee set world records in three events at the Paralympic Games in Atlanta and served as Team USA’s Chef de Mission’ for the 2012 Olympics in London
- Aimee was a muse (and friend) of legendary designer (Lee) Alexander McQueen and did an iconic runway show with him wearing a leather corset, lace skirt and carved ash legs. The outfit now resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Savage Beauty exhibit in New York City. One of our video samples show this show- Aimee appears at the beginning and the very end – at the 18 minute mark.
- Aimee’s sprinting legs were designed after the fastest animal on earth: The Cheetah
- Aimee’s preferred format for speaking is the On-Stage Fireside Chat – where she and the moderator have a one of a kind, wide-ranging conversation on a variety of topics.
- Aimee was a Global Brand Ambassador for L’Oreal Paris.
- Aimee was raised in Allentown Pennsylvania.
- The book under Aimee’s primary photo is The Second Circle: How to Use Positive Energy for Success in Every Situation, written by Aimee’s acting coach, Patsy Rodenburg (fabulous read for everyone)
- In bocca al lupo: What actors say to each other before a big performance or audition – the equivalent of ‘Break a leg!’ or ‘Fingers crossed.’ -You never wish them luck, that is said to bring bad luck. The phrase is italian for ‘in the mouth of the wolf’…and the correct response is: “crepi il lupo!” (may the wolf die!)
- Aimee was photographed with dear friend and renown designer Olivier Theyskens for Vogue Germany – Olivier also made Aimee’s wedding dress.
- When Aimee had her first big payday, she celebrated by treating herself to some vintage cuffs with shooting stars inlaid on them.
- Aimee’s birthday is July 20th.
- The folding ruler symbolizes Aimee’s ability to change her height, at will, depending on which pair of prosthetic legs she wears.
- The iconic photo of Aimee sprinting down the beach in her prosthetic sprinting legs and a bikini was taken by famed photographer Howard Schatz.