V76

ARTICLE SARAH CRISTOBAL

PHOTOGRAPHY INEZ & VINOODH

STYLIST CARLYNE CERF DE DUDZEELE

CREDITS ARTICLE CONTENTS

BODY BEAUTIFUL

PRIVATE DANCER

HEROES: AIMEE MULLINS

EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Wendy Rowe using NARS Cosmetics (Tim Howard Management)
Hair Christiaan using Kiehl’s grooming aids  Manicure Deborah Lippmann (The Magnet Agency)  Lighting technician Jodokus Driessen  Digital capture Brian Anderson  Photo assistant Joe Hume  Stylist assistant Kate Grella  Studio manager Marc Kroop  Makeup assistant Chisa Takahashi  Hair assistant Yoko Sato  Printing Box  Location Pier 59 Digital Studios  Special thanks Tony Jay

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HEROES: AIMEE MULLINS

PHOTOGRAPHY INEZ & VINOODH
FASHION CARLYNE CERF DE DUDZEELE
TEXT SARAH CRISTOBAL

AS TEAM U.S.A.'S CHEF DE MISSION FOR THE 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES, AIMÉE MULLINS WILL BE LEADING AMERICANS INTO LONDON’S OLYMPIC STADIUM THIS SUMMER, BUT FOR THE ACCOMPLISHED ATHLETE, ACTOR, SHAKESPEARIAN SCHOLAR, AND NEW FACE OF L’ORÉAL, BEING A FORERUNNER IS NOTHING NEW

“I have a friend who told me that my whole career has been a series of ‘you can’t do thats,’” confesses Aimée Mullins over a spot of tea one blustery winter weekend in New York. “Who walks the runways? My whole career is a series of tiny miracles. I’m not supposed to be there.”

Mullins, who was born without fibula bones, learned to walk on prosthetic legs—and has never stopped moving forward. While a dean’s list student at Georgetown, she became the first amputee in history to compete in an NCAA sport; a track-and-field standout, she established new records in the 100, 200, and long jump, using revolutionary carbon-fiber prostheses. By 1996 she had reached an Olympic starting block, which naturally led to international interest. Soon she was off to the (fashion) races in London, where she was shot by Nick Knight (who later became a trusted friend) and strutted the runway for the late, great Alexander McQueen. Mullins treasures the hand-carved wooden legs the designer made for her catwalk debut. “He was always taking something that was perceived as ugly or banal and transforming it to make it beautiful,” she says. “That’s what art is.”

Today Mullins’s collection of prosthetics has expanded to include 13 pairs of varying heights. “I’m having fun with it,” she confessed during one of her many talks at TED, a global nonprofit organization devoted to developing change through the exchange of ideas. Mullins is a fixture on the TED circuit, and speaks open-mindedly about stigmas associated with the term “disability.”

Raised in an Irish family among whom the art of storytelling is an innate gift, Mullins says that of all her talents acting is the one that inspires her the most. “From my earliest memories, it’s what I’ve felt I needed to do,” she says. Her passion for the craft is so great that she even “treats” herself to intensive two-week Shakespeare workshops in London at least once a year. Her most prominent roles to date have been personas in The Creamaster Cycle‚ artist Matthew Barney’s wonderfully mad dystopian opus. The pair have recently partnered up again—this time for the third (there are seven in total) installment of Barney’s performance piece and upcoming film, Ancient Evenings, adapted from the novel by Norman Mailer. Mullins is reprising the role of Isis, the ideal wife, mother, and caretaker of Greek mythology. Given the goddess’s propensity to inspire (which is one of Mullins’s favorite words, meaning “to breathe new life into something”), the casting seems entirely appropriate.

And although she’s giving J.Lo a run for her money in the multi-hyphenate career department, Mullins is still getting accustomed to the perks. The new L’Oréal spokeswoman is now among an elite group of beauty ambassadors including Lopez, Beyoncé, and Gwen Stefani, but when she arrived at the Chateau Marmont the day before the shoot, she thought she had been given the penthouse by mistake. “I was thinking that they accidentally gave me Beyoncé’s room,” she deadpans.

This summer Mullins will be in the spotlight once again as she leads Team U.S.A. into the Olympic Stadium in London. It’s just another one of the many roles that she is totally comfortable playing—well, sort of. “I had to go through a media-training day, which is all about how to not say anything too newsworthy,” she laughs. “I’m a talker. That was kind of hard.”

EXTRA CREDITS

Makeup Wendy Rowe using NARS Cosmetics (Tim Howard Management)
Hair Christiaan using Kiehl’s grooming aids  Manicure Deborah Lippmann (The Magnet Agency)  Lighting technician Jodokus Driessen  Digital capture Brian Anderson  Photo assistant Joe Hume  Stylist assistant Kate Grella  Studio manager Marc Kroop  Makeup assistant Chisa Takahashi  Hair assistant Yoko Sato  Printing Box  Location Pier 59 Digital Studios  Special thanks Tony Jay

MORE TO LOVE

HIGHER LEARNING HEROES: KATE UPTON BRAVE NEW WORLD PENELOPE TREE
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