Jessica Cox: Precocious Pilot

She was born without arms, but that hasn't stopped her from flying. This young pilot, a Fun Fearless Female Awardee for 2010, talks about strength and determination.
With reports from Samantha Echavez

What would you do if you were born without arms? Twenty-six-year-old Jessica Cox doesn't have to wax hypothetical when it comes to that question. She lives it everyday. Jessica was born without both arms. What does she do? Pretty much anything and everything she can think of, including flying a plane (among other feats that you'd think you would need arms for, like surfing, playing instruments, driving, and swimming.) She sets goals and goes for them, and she never, ever gives up. Now that's fearless!

Where do you get your strength?

"You know, I've been a pretty determined person my entire life, and obviously the strength to be determined has come from my birth condition and what I had to develop in order to survive and adapt and be able to be a functional human being. So I think my situation has developed the determination. And what life's challenges present, whatever I was presented with [along] with life's challenges, helped develop the persistence I needed, being in the situation I'm in. And of course, my family, who have been tremendous in their support and wisdom, [have been my source of strength]."

How do you prevent yourself from getting to the point where you feel like giving up?

"How did I prevent myself? That's a really good question, because I don't even believe in giving up. That's the thing. I don't think I ever get to that point of wanting to give up, because my whole life has been about determination. So, essentially, I guess, I've developed it as a defense mechanism so I never get to that point."

How do you feel when you hear people complaining about their lives or their jobs? What do you want to say, and what advice do you want to give to those who feel like their circumstances are preventing them from chasing their dreams?

"To be totally honest, there is no way that I'm going to change anyone's feelings or beliefs about their own lives. That's not my job. But I can share with them how I feel, how blessed and appreciative I feel. And who knows? My whole goal in life is not necessarily to change their attitudes, but just to live my life in a happy manner and be grateful. If somehow, it has an effect on others, great. If it doesn't, that's a decision and lifestyle choice that they have to come to terms with themselves."

Launch our Gallery by clicking the button below to see behind-the-scenes pictures of the shoot with Jessica Cox. To watch the video interview, click here.

Grab the May 2010 issue of Cosmopolitan with Bea Alonzo on the cover to get to know Jessica even more and see the rest of the Fun Fearless Female Awardees.

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