Athlete & Model Kanya Sesser Who Was Born Without Legs Is Proving “Different Is Sexy”


Remember the name Kanya Sesser, because she just became our new girl crush! This amazing woman is defying the norms in powerful ways, and inspiring many along the way. The 23 year old inspiring woman is an athlete and model, who hails originally from Thailand.

Kanya was born without legs, and after being abandoned at a Buddhist Temple, was adopted from an orphanage in Thailand, at the age of 5 before moving to the United States. She lives by the motto “no legs, no limits” and after hearing her story and seeing what she is doing, its easy to see how she embodies that statement.

She first moved to Portland, Oregon, after being adopted from Thailand, before moving to California, where she now lives in Los Angeles. Growing up, Kanya was determined not to let her disability become her disadvantage. From the age of 15 she started modeling for sports brands and was already skating, surfing and enjoying the outdoors.

After modeling for brands such as Billabong, Volcom, Rip Curl Girl and Nike she started getting offers from other lingerie and bikini brands and has added that to the many credits on her resume.

Kanya believes having someone like her within the modeling industry is important to show a different side of beauty.


“I enjoy making money from it and I love showing people what beauty can look like. These images show my strength. [Modeling] is something fun and it shows my story. I’m different and that is sexy, I don’t need legs to feel sexy,” she told the New York Daily News in an interview.

She does make a point of stating that modeling is not her main priority, but it has become a great platform to share her story and challenge the existing narrow standards of beauty.

“Not a lot of people have the confidence to realize how strong you really are inside. Most people shut themselves down [because] society makes them feel awkward with the situation they’re in. You have to make a different [path] for yourself, ’cause no one is going to do it for you,” she said.

Aside from modeling, Kanya is also a motivational speaker, using her story to inspire others not to look down on themselves or give up. Her sporting career is the main focus of her life, and judging by the fact that she chose to get around on a skateboard instead of a wheelchair, it was a pretty easy decision to make.


Kanya, whose sporting abilities trumps the majority of us who DO have legs, include surfing, track events, mono skiing, and carver board skating. On her free time she plays tennis, wheelchair basketball, sled-hockey and swim. She’s also currently training to compete in mono-skiing in the 2018 Winter Paralympics.

In a video interview she talks about being raised by Buddhist monks until the age of 2 before she ended up being adopted, and says that it was their teaching about positivity and finding the good in life that impacted her empowered outlook today.

“Since a very young age my approach to life has been to live without limits and to not be afraid to do new things. Even though there are certain things that I might not be able to do, that doesn’t stop me from trying and finding a way to do it my own way,” she wrote in a blog post for where she detailed her daily activities and how she plans to make her way to the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea.


The more you hear Kanya speak and see her on her skateboard, you forget about the fact that she doesn’t have legs. But that’s what should be happening more. We need to stop seeing “disabled” people as disadvantaged in any way because honestly some of the most inspiring, creative and intelligent people we’ve either read about or seen interviews of are those who are differently-abled.

If we had more disabled people represented not just in modeling, but in every aspect of mainstream society, perhaps we would become more accepting and welcoming to those who happen to be different to us. Kanya is certainly part of that slow change.

According to comedian and disability advocate Maysoon Zayid, people with disabilities are the largest minorities in the world and they are the most underrepresented group in mainstream entertainment. She discussed this issue in her brilliant TED Talk from 2014 titled “I’ve got 99 problems, Cerebral Palsy is just one!”.


We hope Kanya’s story will inspire all our readers to grab life by the horns and not to make any excuses. Her determination not to be treated as anything but badass is setting a great example. People will treat us the way we want to be treated, and possess the power to live positively if we choose to.

It’s highly appropriate that in the interview video showing Kanya’s skating below, when asked how she would describe herself in one word, she says “badass” because then we see footage of her on a skateboard, holding on to the back of a moving car with one arm, while holding her iphone in the other filming the daredevil experience!

“I just see I’m like everybody else. People are different, yes, and they do different things. I do life differently, I adapt in my own way and how I can,” she said.

To see Kanya in action mono-skiing click here. Or you can get familiar with her story and see her skating in Venice Beach, CA in the video below:



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