Inspirational Kanya Sesser was born without legs but has used her hands as feet to become a successful athlete and model.
The 23-year-old uses her skateboard to get around and also enjoys playing basketball, surfing and skiing.
Kanya was born in Thailand but abandoned by her biological parents and placed into the care of Buddhist monks when she was just a few weeks old. At 5 she was adopted by Jane Sesser, 56, and Dave Sesser, 57, from Oregon, USA who saw her picture in an international adoption magazine.
‘My parents flew to Thailand to come get me and wanted to give me the best life they could,’ says Kanya.
By age 9, she was an accomplished surfer, skateboarder, and has been competing in extreme sport events ever since.
‘People are always shocked when they see me pulling tricks on my skateboard. I was born this way and I’ve never let it hold me back. Some people say I’ve overcome a lot but I never see it like that – for a long time I thought it was normal to have no legs and it’s never bothered me.
‘I’ve never really been bullied,’ says Kanya, ‘but I’m sure people talk behind my back. I don’t really make time for people like that – you’ve got to keep positive.’
Along with tearing up the skatepark, Kanya is also an accomplished track star. ‘I just love to go fast,’ she says. ‘I just go with the flow – I’ve never really considered my life challenging because I’ve never had a different one to compare to. I just do what I do each day and stay positive.’
'I’d go to sleep at night wishing I could just wake up and be like everyone else'
What a cracking smile!
Kanya also started modelling at 17 when an agent and sports photographer approached her while she was playing basketball.
‘I hadn’t thought about modelling but it was the ideal way to show I wasn’t ashamed of my body,’ she explains. ‘I wore a blue bikini and got loads of compliments – and a year later I did my first lingerie shoot.
‘I wasn’t nervous about stripping off and wore a black bra and shorts – I’m very comfortable with my looks. I keep fit and eat healthily, and modelling lingerie and bikinis makes me feel sexy. I get lots of attention from guys and have a good sex life.
‘My goal is to show people that disabilities don’t have to hold you back.’