Jess Quinn is a blogger, model, product designer, and public speaker with a prosthetic leg who is training for a 10km marathon. She was diagnosed with cancer of the bone when she was nine years old and subsequently had to undergo an operation and get a prosthetic leg. Now, as a young adult, Quinn has started an online campaign called LimbitLess. Beautiful photos of her are posted alongside messages that challenge our culture’s way of breeding insecurities and limiting people’s true potential.
She lets out a laugh that would put anyone at ease, saying “cut me off if I ramble,” being someone who obviously has a lot to say. I ask her whether or not she was always this confident and she explains how, as she got older, she came to terms with what had happened and started to feel more insecure: “I’d always hide away. I’d bring track pants to hide my leg.” However, her friends would encourage her to put on shorts: “‘You’ll look amazing,’ they urged, so I started to wear shorts more and more and now I don’t hide a thing.”
Others’ support has helped Jess, but she makes a point of saying that confidence is something that has to come from within. She found through exercise and fashion that she was able to feel more herself: “I loved going into a gym and being absolutely myself.”
As for fashion, Jess says she used to wish that she could wear heels, but has now developed a unique style as a result: “My style has come from my adversity. I’m really into streetwear. I like being casual all the time. That style has definitely come from what I’m comfortable wearing.” It seems so obvious, but nonetheless something that we all forget, that we feel more confident doing and wearing things that make us feel most ourselves.
It has also been affirming for Jess to discover just how much she can positively influence others: “I just thought, ‘Wow, I can actually have an impact on people’s lives and I didn’t even know.’”
She says that she feels she has come at a perfect time, when people are tiring more and more of the media and the negative effects it has on our self-esteem by making us constantly compare ourselves to others: “Everyone’s really over it.”
Jess will no doubt keep showing us how we can define our own limits more than we thought, while running past those that others set for us.
Follow her journey on Incogo (Being Limbitless) and Instagram (@jessicaemilyquinn).