The British press labelled the Paralympic athletes “The Superhumans” in the 2012 Games. Meet Aimee Mullins, former Paralympian, torchbearer for Team USA 2012, fashion model, actress and muse of the late Alexander McQueen. Look at that face, and that body, and you’ll have a hard time equating anything you see with the word “disabled”. Superhuman is far more accurate.
Aimee Mullins is sexy as hell, has three world records to her name, and was once the youngest person to hold a top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon, working as an intelligence analyst during her summer holidays. Born without fibula bones, Aimee’s legs were amputated below the knee when she was a year old. She went on to become the first amputee in American collegiate athletics to compete at the highest levels of the sport, breaking records in the 100 metres, 200 metres and long jump and competing in the 1996 Paralympic Games. She was also the first person in the world on woven carbon fibre “cheetah” legs, the legs that saw Jonnie Peacock cross the finish line first in the 100 metres this year. Working closely with MIT on prosthetics innovation, when i-D meet Aimee on a terrace overlooking the Olympic stadium, she pulls out an app on her iPhone that allows her to pre-programme her leg movements. “I’m wiggling my left toe as we speak,” she says, referring to another technology that facilitates a conversation between her brain and her prosthetic legs. Aimee has sixteen pairs of legs in total; “Some of which are very functional, for sprinting, cycling, swimming or going to the gym. I have legs that are covered with hand-painted silicone. I had special legs made for the opening ceremony of this year’s Paralympic Games that have golden wings on them. I have glass legs, legs that are hand-carved out of wood, porcelain… I have different heights too, legs for flats, legs for two-inch heels, four-inch heels. They’re like a wonderful piece of clothing, a wearable sculpture.” Celebrated for her stunning, unique physical form, Aimee has inspired the great photographers and artists of her generation, shot by Nick Knight, Steven Klein and Bruce Weber. She stormed the catwalk for Alexander McQueen and starred in a number of really weird but wonderfully acclaimed fine art films by Matthew Barney, and she’s currently working on the next. Impressed yet? Read on in The Wise Up Issue.