Paola Antonini is a 21-year-old Brazilian model who has gained a significant social media following — and she's doing it as an amputee with a single leg.
As they were packing luggage into the back of their parked Fiat, a drunk driver crashed into the back of the car and crushed her left leg. She was taken to nearby Hospital Felicio Rocho. After four attempted surgeries to save her leg, the doctors were forced to remove it.
Antonini was optimistic about her recovery, and it was that optimism that helped her get through rehab and eventually back into modeling with a prosthetic leg.
She now has over 600,000 followers on Instagram, and she is spreading her body positive message.
"Every day I wake up and think, 'I'm so glad to be alive,'" Antonini told Brazilian website Veja BH, as translated by Google. "I do not hide the prosthesis from anyone. It is part of me."
She said that she continues to wear shorts, visit the beach, and post pictures with the prosthesis just as she always had without it. "I want to be a model for other amputees. I have not changed any plans. I have a lifetime of happiness ahead," she added.