Simone marched on after she lost first one leg and then the other. She wore out many prostheses and dozens of pairs of tennis shoes and flats. But for about twenty years, she had not worn heels. She imagined herself in thong high-heeled shoes and legs that matched her African-American skin. Once Simone saw samples of Aesthetic Prosthetics’ work, she knew where she would get her dream legs.
What was different from her old prostheses? “Everything,” she says. “The color is exactly my skin color,” which she says is a big difference from what she was used to. She explained that her previous choice had been between very pale, a reddish brown (“nobody is that color” she says emphatically) or almost black. Her new legs “have a whole depth.”
“It makes me feel like a woman,” Simone says, a smile in her voice. “Until I was able to wear heels again and wear my color, I didn’t realize how much was taken from me. I never felt like a woman in my other life.” Before she had her legs from Aesthetic Prosthetic, she just couldn’t dress up and have “the things that are important to girls.” She did not want her amputations to be the first topic of conversation with everyone. Now, “If I wear something short above my knees people think I have on some sort of crazy cool boots. Or they think maybe it’s just a bandage around my knee.”
But these legs aren’t just for admiring looks. “I walk my dog 45 minutes twice a day,” she says, and the only time she is out of her prostheses is when she is asleep. Simone’s friends all know that she has two prosthetic legs, but the artistry of the illusion moves their focus to other aspects of her personality and her life.
About losing limbs, Simone says, “Life’s not over. There is so much that can be done. It may not be fair. It’s not fair that anyone loses a limb. It’s okay to be angry. Where do you go from there? Do you sit in your house and be negative and self-hating and no one wants to be near you, or do you get out and live life again? And now we can do that. I don’t want anybody to be stuck like that.” She muses that people who are new to the idea of using a prosthesis worry about falling. She gives them tough love, forged through her own experiences: “You fell when you had two feet. You’ll get up and learn what you are trying to do better. I want people to see through the negative stuff and see the positive stuff. There’s nothing to feel sorry for.”
Simone summarizes her life: “We have wonderful things and people like Stefan are just making them better. My legs are better than Heather Mills’. Much better!”