I am Sophie-Anne Onland and was born with a leg defect. My left leg is 25 cm shorter than my right leg so I have been walking with a lower leg prosthesis all my life. Until 2020, I had a prosthesis that looked very much like a ''real leg,'' purely to not stand out and meet the ''societal and media norm.'' I was ashamed of my abnormality.

I eventually got in touch with Frank Jol, a prosthetist who also worked with paralympic champion Bibian Mentel (1979-2021). "What makes his working method special is that he looks per person at what someone wants to achieve in life. For top sports you need a different kind of prosthesis than for a trip around the world. And for some people it is just important to take a walk with their dog every day. Every person wants to get something different out of life and that's what you have to look at."

It was precisely because of this approach that I was quite thrown off guard by Frank. He wanted to make a prosthesis for me that would allow me to do much more physically, but most of all I wanted my prosthesis to resemble a 'normal' leg as much as possible. "I had also been unconsciously influenced since adolescence by all the perfect pictures around me, I guess. Anything that deviated from that was crazy. And so that prosthesis of mine had to and would be skin-colored."

This changed when I received a new prosthesis that was much more noticeable. Accepting this new prosthesis was a difficult process, but finding a female role model on Instagram, among other things, led to my ''coming out.'' I started to accept who I am. Long story short: my disability became my strength. I started to see how important it is to accept who you are and how ''being different'' is not a bad thing. Coming out for who I am, being my real self, not hiding my prosthesis has brought me so much and I wish that to everyone. The importance of representation and visibility have since become part of me and I hope to be a role model for others.

"I want to inspire and motivate everyone to look with open eyes at the world around you as well as at yourself. I want to make every ´difference´, visible or invisible, discussable to eventually normalize."

Sophie-Anne Onland