Double amputee fashion model Aimee Mullins says she has excelled on the catwalk because her prosthetic legs let her adjust her height at will.
The 36-year-old, who is in Australia for the Melbourne Fashion Festival as the new face of L’Oreal Paris, keeps 12 sets of prosthetic legs, which means she can adjust her height from 172cm to 185cm.
"I would never have been a runway model if I didn't have prosthetic legs," she told Nine News.
"So it's because of the thing that made me different — [the same thing] in my childhood years I wished I didn't have."
The American model, whose legs were amputated below the knees as a one-year-old after being born without fibula bones, first walked the runway in 1998 for designer Alexander McQueen's show.
Mullins wore a pair of hand-carved wooden legs made from solid ash.
She said Naomi Campbell approached her backstage at the time and wanted to try her wooden legs on, thinking they were boots.
"'You can't wear them, they're made for me. They're not boots, they're legs' and I showed her," Mullins said.
The former Paralympian said she never obsessed over body image the way same fashion models do.
"I think because I grew up wearing prosthetic legs and this idea of achieving perfection or this model body was never going to be a reality for me," she said.
Mullins' modeling career came after an equally remarkable career as an athlete.
She competed in the Paralympics in 1996 in the high jump and 100m sprint after competing with able bodied athletes while she was at university.
The 36-year-old has also begun acting in recent years, starring in Cremaster 3, In the Woods and Quid Pro Quo.
Source: "Amputee Model Credits Disability for Career." Australian and World News. Web. 08 Mar. 2012. <http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/8431304/amputee-model-credits-disability-for-career>.