Humans come in such a wide range of different shapes and sizes, that it can be kind of mind blowing at times. Despite being born a bit differently, many people don’t let this hold them back and go on to achieve incredible things. We’ll introduce you to 10 Women whose stories may shock, astound, and maybe even inspire you.
1. Bethany Hamilton
Even if you consider yourself a pretty resilient person in general, there are some things we imagine would be traumatizing for anyone, and of those things, shark attacks are pretty high up on the list. When Bethany Hamilton was just 13 years old, she was out surfing along tunnels beach in Hawaii, when a Tiger Shark was drawn to the high quantity of turtles in the area. The shark ended up taking a bite out of Hamilton instead, severing her left arm just below the shoulder. Not only did she survive, but astonishingly enough was back in the water surfing just one month after her accident. Only Two years after losing her arm, she won her first national title. At first, she relied on a custom surfboard designed to accommodate her missing limb, but now uses standard equipment. In addition to her incredible surfing career, she also works as a motivational speaker and author. She and her husband even appeared on The Amazing Race, and managed to finish in third place.
Her real name is Julia Gunthel, but this Russian contortionist is better known as Zlata. Sure, many of us enjoy seeing how deep we can sink into our Yoga poses and like to consider ourselves fairly flexible, but Zlata is on a whole other level. When she was Four years old, her teacher noticed her unusual flexibility, and encouraged her to pursue gymnastics. Her extreme poses are made possible because of her hypermobility. This means that her ligaments are more flexible than the average person’s. She began her career as a gymnast, before deciding to embrace her unusual talent and focus on being a contortionist. In 2016, she went through a bitter divorce, and decided to celebrate her new freedom by creating her own calendar showing off her skills. Okay, maybe she also wanted to show off her body and make her ex realize what he was missing as well, but who could blame her? Zlata has also made it into the Guinness Book of World Records, setting the record for most flowers picked up with the mouth in a contortion backbend. In one minute, she managed to pick up Six Roses and place them in a vase. A few years later, she beat her own record by picking up 11 Roses.
3. Pixee Fox
If you think that the name Pixee Fox sounds like it should belong to a cartoon character, just wait until you get a glimpse of the woman herself. Oh, and don’t worry, she doesn’t consider the comparison to a cartoon character an insult. She claims that is the look she’s going for, and she’s gone to some rather extreme lengths to achieve it. Pixee declares that she sees her body as a work of art, and delights in showing off her “Gallery” to the world. Her body modifications are well documented for her fans to view online, and she first made headlines when she removed six of her ribs to achieve the tiny waist she wanted so badly. In total, she’s had over 100 cosmetic procedures, and even went as far as changing her eye color from blue to bright green. This procedure isn’t widely available and is usually only used to correct abnormalities in the eye. Her parents have been shocked by her transformation, to say the least, and recall that in her youth she was a typical tomboy. Although one that was fascinated by beauty. She would spend a lot of time creating beautiful floral arrangements, and her father believed she would be a florist. It seems that Pixee is still creating beauty in her own way, she’s just using herself as the medium.
4. Jyoti Amge
Fans of American Horror Story will immediately recognize this actress who played the role of the adorable ma petite in the fourth season. But you may not have known that there were no CGI or camera tricks needed for her to appear so very short. This 23 Year Old is Jyoti Amge, and she’s the smallest living woman according to the Guinness Book of World Records. She stands just over two and a half feet tall and only weighs 11 pounds, making her about the size of a Two Year Old child. She has a form of dwarfism known as Achondroplasia which causes her short stature. While it’s her size that may catch your attention, Amge claims that she’s much more than that, and she hopes to take on additional acting roles in the future. Although you may see her costars picking her up and coddling her on the show, in real life, she doesn’t appreciate that type of treatment, and is annoyed when people touch her without permission. She claims that she has a relatively normal life, and even attended public school as a child. Besides having to have her clothing, jewelry, at even silverware custom made to suit her size, she’s no different than any other Hollywood hopeful.
5. Abigail and Brittany Hensel
Okay, so this is really a Two for One, since Abigail and Brittany Hensel are conjoined Twins. This pair of amazing women share a single body, but each have their own head. Each Twin controls half of the body, and we’re sure you can just imagine the effort it takes to coordinate things like walking, eating, or clapping. Conjoined twins occur in only 1 in 189,000 Births, and people who are conjoined the way that Abby and Brittany are make up only 11% of that already small number. When they were 6 years old, they appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and audiences all over the world were absolutely fascinated by the pair. In addition to their appearances on other shows, they also starred in their own TLC reality series called Abby and Brittany. Viewers watched as the teens struggle to learn to drive a car, before finally getting their licenses. Despite the massive amount of attention, they’ve received, they are now 27 years old and live relatively low key lives. They work as teachers at a public school. We bet it’s pretty much impossible to goof off in their classroom without one of them noticing! It’s time for our Trivia Question! Many of the women in our Article have made it into the infamous Guinness Book of World Records. According to Guinness, Stephanie Gicquel is one of only 10 people to attempt to traverse the surface of Antarctica without using the power of motors, dogs, or wind kites. What was the length she traveled during her Record-setting expedition! Stay with us for the Answer!
6. Aimee Mullins
Aimee Mullins is known for her acting, modeling, and her athletic prowess. None of those things are easy, and Mullins have a deck stacked against her from the very beginning. She was born with a condition known as Fibular Hemimelia, meaning that her fibula bones are missing. This resulted in her legs being amputated below the knee when she was a baby. Learning to walk on prosthetic limbs can be a challenge, but Mullins not only learned to walk, but began to run too. She began competing in the Paralympics as a sprinter, and became the first double amputee to compete in NCAA Division One track and field. Meanwhile, she was double-majoring in history and diplomacy at Georgetown University, and appearing on the runway as a model. Talk about being a champion multi-tasker! Mullins is considered a pioneer for both female and disabled athletes. Rather than her prosthetic legs being a hindrance to her modeling career, she claims it’s useful to be able to change her height on a whim. She’s also been featured in many TED talks, and was even named a TED all star in 2014.
7. Lizzie Velasquez
Lizzie Velasquez is truly an inspiring woman, and hasn’t let an extremely rare disease hold her back in life. She was born with Marfanoid-Progeroid-Lipodystrophy syndrome. In addition to taking a while to spell out, this syndrome means that her body can’t accumulate fat, making it impossible for her to gain weight. Her highest weight is 64 pounds, and she has almost 0% body fat despite consuming between 5,000 and 8,000 calories daily. She is also blind in her right eye, and can’t see very well out of the other. As you can imagine, many people find Lizzie’s appearance startling, and she’s been a frequent target of bullying, starting when she was a child and other kids refused to interact with her. Strangers called her “The Ugliest Woman in the World,” and cruel comments about her flooded YouTube for a time. Despite this, Lizzie has stood strong as an anti-bullying activist. She even has her own YouTube channel, which has received over 68 Million views. She’s written several books, and appeared in a documentary entitled a Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez story. She also hosts a talk show called unzipped, where she talks to her guests about bullying and current beauty standards.
8. Natasha Veruschka
We can file much of Natasha Veruschka’s life under: please don’t try this at Home. The self-titled Queen of swords is one of the most famous sword swallowers in the world. To celebrate sworn swallower’s Awareness Day, which we actually weren’t aware was a thing, she made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Veruschka managed to swallow a sword that was 22.83 inches long, setting the record for longest sword swallowed. While that’s certainly an impressive feat, it’s only one of her Seven world records. She also holds the record for most swords swallowed simultaneously by a female. The queen of swords managed to swallow 13 swords, each at least 15 inches in length. Some women may have a large number of shoes to choose from, but Veruschka prefers instead to keep a large “Menu” of swords. These include “The Red Devil,” a massive 29 inch long blade, and the 25 inch long “Bradshaw Sword.” Her unique skill has taken her all over the world, where she De lights audiences with her talent. As a result of her extensive traveling, she’s been able to study in many different places, and speak several different languages.
9. Aevin Dugas
Some of us enjoy spending time getting the perfect hairstyle in the morning, while others feel like anything more than running some product through our hair is too much effort. Many people with naturally thick, curly hair spend a lot of time, effort, and money trying to straighten it. It can feel like a losing battle at times, and it’s one that Aevin Dugas was very familiar with. After years and years of trying to get super straight hair, she decided to embrace her hair’s natural texture, and hopes that her actions will encourage other women to do the same. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she has the largest Afro in the world. It is 7.3 inches High, 7.7 inches wide, and a shocking 4 feet in circumference. She’s been growing out her hair for over a decade, and says that her gorgeous, Au natural look has earned her a lot of recognition. She claims that her favorite part of her look is inspiring other girls to embrace their natural hair texture. Whereas once her style got her strange looks and rude comments, she claims that she’s seen a big shift towards more natural looks in recent years and it’s now far more accepted, and even preferred by many people.
10. Lauren Williams
While Aimee Mullins excelled in sports and modeling despite having her legs amputated from the knees down, Lauren Williams has kind of the opposite problem. Her legs are staggeringly long, Measuring in at 49 inches in length. When it comes to modeling, let’s just say that she has a leg up on the competition, and her sense of style is far above that of other models. There are always a few Photoshopped pictures of massively tall people floating around the internet, but Williams is the real deal. You might think that basketball would be her preferred sport, but she was actually a championship volleyball player in college. Williams claims that modeling offers come to her easily, because her legs make her recognizable. Her athletic ability also helps her modeling career, as she specializes in swimwear and athletic clothes because those typically require a long, lean look. However, she claims that her long legs aren’t such an asset when it comes to shopping for clothes she’s not wearing on the catwalk. Her pants need to be made with a 39 inch inseam, which is almost impossible to find. Although the record for the longest legs belongs to Svetlana Pankratova, whose legs are 51.9 inches, the multi-talented Williams is thought to have the longest legs in the U.S. Over the course of one year, Stephanie Gicquel made it 1270.7 miles, or 2,045 kilometers over the surface of Antarctica. This record-breaking feat was accomplished without the use of motors, dogs, or wind kite!