Victoria Salcedo of Ecuador is much like any other vivacious, life-loving twenty-something. She likes to hang out with friends, dance, attend parties, go to the movies, shop, experiment with different makeup looks using the hottest product picks and coolest trends, swim in her backyard pool, and play with her dog. Except, she does it all with a single limb.
After losing both her arms and her left leg in a home electrocution accident when she was just five years-old, the now 23 year-old independent and incandescent beauty can’t remember what her life was like before that fateful Sunday in 2011. With a gleaming smile, glowing personality, and incredibly positive outlook, the social media stunner and famous fashion model recalls having to re-learn every single basic task most of us unwittingly take for granted – like eating, brushing her teeth, brushing her long, lustrous jet-black locks, getting dressed in the morning, bathing, walking, and, yes, swimming. Today, she texts with her toes faster than a two-handed individual, effortlessly applies a flawless, full-face of makeup with her right foot that would make even the most sought-after celeb makeup artist blush, attends classes at University, and has recently taught herself to free dive, gracefully gliding underwater like a magical mermaid! Her next endeavor – to be an accomplished news journalist.
As she was growing up, she realized she was “different” from her classmates and sometimes wondered what she could accomplish if she had the use of her arms, but would quickly dismiss the fleeting reveries aware of the sheer impossibility of it all. Instead, Victoria learned to focus on the things that were very much POSSIBLE. So, she began to document her life via the popular social site Instagram in hopes of bringing inspiration, motivation, and meaning to her followers. “I use what I’ve lived through and what I’ve learned, and I share that part of myself with others – for me, inspiring others is an opportunity to change people’s minds,” she tells YouTube channel Shake Beauty. She relishes in interacting with her 100,000 fans and followers and loves answering their quirky, inquisitive questions about her accident and way of life. She finds deep pleasure in empowering other women – and even men. And, like most beautiful, young women with a massive following on the Internet, she has her share of persistent, would-be suitors to contend with.
Because Victoria was so young when she lost three of her limbs, she was (fortunately) able to very quickly adapt to her situation. She relinquished her upper prosthetics a few years after the life-changing accident, relying on only a lower prosthetic limb to aid in her active, on-the-go lifestyle. And, there’s no stopping this GoGirl! Unequivocally the “life of the party,” this unencumbered influencer can often be found soaking up the rays on the sun-drenched beaches of Ecuador, hiking in the hills, posing for fashion shoots, granting interviews, and strutting down the catwalks of South America showing off the latest styles of some of the most famous fashion designers. According to her supportive, nurturing mother Cella, the accident occurred on a Sunday. By Monday, Victoria was asking permission to go in the family pool. At such a young, impressionable age, Victoria was instinctively determined to not allow her disability to hold her back from living life to the absolute fullest. Heartwarmingly enamored by her daughter’s endless drive, courage, and unwavering resolve, Cella insists there is nothing her daughter cannot do – she’s limitless and proud of the woman she has become. “It’s a privilege to be her mother,” says Cella.
The most challenging part of growing up with a single limb? “Effectively killing mosquitoes,” says the fearless free diver. Today, the toughest part about being a triple amputee is changing people’s perception regarding her disability and ostensible body image. Personally, whenever she undertakes any obstacle, she deliberately pushes herself straight out of her comfort zone. For the irrepressible over-achiever, it’s all about challenging herself. As her Instagram profile fittingly states, “What doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you.” That’s her personal rule for herself, every day.
To learn more about the virtuous Victoria and her unorthodox, unforgettable journey, to peek at her pics from her fashion shoots, free diving, and fun times with friends and family, or if you’re simply looking for a much-needed dose of inspiration with a side of motivation, be sure to follow her on the ‘Gram @Vicco_salcedo.