Kanya Sesser is not your average 23-year-old woman. She was born without legs and began her life deserted on the steps of a Thai Buddhist temple. It was a rough start, to be sure. But Sesser didn't let that stop her from becoming a Los Angeles-based lingerie model with a lucrative career.
Sesser was adopted when she was 5 years old and moved from Thailand to Portland, Oregon. After she did a photoshoot for Billabong at age 15, she was approached to model lingerie, the young woman told the Daily Mail. Sesser has also modeled for Volcom, Rip Curl Girl and Nike.
"It's something fun and it shows my story — I'm different and that is sexy," Sesser told the Daily Mail. "I don't need legs to feel sexy."
"I like expressing myself in a different way than people usually see," she said. "This is just who I am."
The young model is also an avid sportswoman (opting to travel around on a skateboard instead of in a wheelchair) and has excelled in a number of arenas — skateboarding, surfing and basketball, to name a few. She has her sights set on the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea, where she hopes to represent the United States in mono-skiing.
Sesser's career is reinforcing body-positive attitudes, redefining beauty standards in the process. "We want to challenge the unrealistic standard of beauty that's there now," Wendy Crawford, a disabled activist who has also modeled, told Elle.
"I think all women have a hard time with body image and self acceptance, and if we could see our assets and our qualities as opposed to looking at ourselves negatively and not let the outside world define us, we can do anything," she added. Historically, the modeling industry has lacked diversity in a range of areas, including race, age and size.
Sesser never planned on being a model and intends on continuing her career as a sportswoman, she told the Daily Mail. Despite not having planned for a modeling career, the young woman still finds it fun. As for why she enjoys modeling so much, Sesser simply says: "These images show my strength."