Jessica Cox, 34, is a Filipino-American born with no arms. She was, nevertheless, still able to live an ordinary life, using her feet to drive a car, brush her hair, put on contact lenses and makeup, and even tie her shoelaces. In addition to mastering life’s everyday skills, she also learned how to surf, ride a horse, and go scuba diving.
Cox, from Arizona, whose disability was due to a non-genetic birth defect, lived an active life from early on. She started learning taekwondo at the age of 10 and earned her black belt four years later. She also received a Guinness World Record for becoming the first woman to fly an airplane using her feet.
She told The Straits Times that she was able to accomplish many things by practicing hard. “I think society often tells people with disabilities that they do not have the capability to do things,” she said. “But to me, the more you practice something, the better you get at it.”
Cox added that it has a lot to do with the support she received from her family.
Her 76-year-old father is a retired band teacher, and her late mother was a nurse. She has a brother and sister who are both able-bodied.
“As a child, I would ask my mother why God created me this way, and my mother would reply it was because God has a great plan for me. Without my wonderful parents, I would not be the person I am today,” she said.
Speaking on her accomplishments, Cox said, “I like the challenge of doing something new and figuring it out. And for me, there’s also this extra element of knowing nobody has ever done this without their arms.”
Recently, Cox has picked up a new activity: slack-lining, which involves walking a tightrope above ground level. “I love balancing, and my goal is to eventually cross a long line over a canyon or body of water,” she shared.
Cox, a psychology graduate, who is now married to a former taekwondo instructor, said that one of her most important decisions in life was to stop using prosthetic arms when she was 14.
“It was the moment I could finally accept that this is who I am, and I should be confident about my difference. There were times when people stared at me and made me feel ostracized and different. But it has always been my goal to show people that I lead a very fulfilling, happy life,” she said.
Many people are born without arms, yet they still manage to lead very successful lives. The woman in this video is one such person, who became the first woman to fly a plane with her feet, a feat that earned her a Guinness World Record!