May 13, 2017


Future Asian & Pacific History Month: Jessica Cox Is Flying Above Stereotypes

Fuse is celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Asian and Pacific History before our eyes. Today we are honoring Jessica Cox, the world's first licensed armless pilot and also the star of our new Right Footed documentary.

The 34-year-old Arizona native is of Filipino descent and was born without arms due to a rare birth defect, but she never used her disability as a deterrent. Instead, Cox (who hasn't relied on prosthetic arms since she was 14) figured out a way to live a normal life. But do not dare be quick to label her as "special" or anything like that—she is just like you and I. The only difference is that Cox uses her feet to navigate throughout her everyday life, which has lead her to do some pretty incredible things! 

After three years of training, Cox earned her pilot's certificate in 2008 and is qualified to fly a light-sport aircraft to altitudes of 10,000 feet. Along with being the first armless pilot, she is also the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association. She began practicing the Korean martial art at age 10 before receiving her first black belt four years later. She also published an autobiographical self-help book, Disarm Your Limits, in 2015. While she has come across multiple struggles along her journey, Cox was able to transform those setbacks into helping others. The motivational speaker, who has spoken in 20 different countries, tells us in the interview above,

"They actually say that women from her region of the Philippines are stronger and they're tougher women. It's funny because I feel like that's a huge part of who I am. The resilience and that strength that comes from that culture is what allowed me to get through the obstacles and challenges of being a woman with a disability, and being a woman without arms...If it wasn't for my culture I honestly don't know if I would've had what it takes to get through everything I had to go through to be as successful as I am today."

Jessica Cox serves as an inspiration to many people around the world as she continues to make her own rules, which secures her spot in the future of Asian/Pacific American history—and beyond!

Learn more about Jessica Cox's amazing story of overcoming adversity during the premiere of our newest We The Dreamers documentary. Right Footed premieres next week, Saturday May 20 at 8/7c on Fuse. Come back to every day for profiles, videos, galleries and more on the individuals around the world who are creating Future Asian and Pacific History.  Join the conversation with #FutureHistory and find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder