A model and athlete born without legs says she won't be held back by her disability.

23-year-old Kanya Sesser, who was adopted from Thailand and now lives in the US, has spoken out about living without legs, saying she doesn't need them to feel sexy or live an action packed life.

Sesser learnt to walk on her hands as a child and got into sports at a young age because she loved being outdoors.

Now she's in training for the 2018 Winter Paralympics as a mono-skier and enjoys playing tennis and skateboarding.

Posing for Billabong last year, she began modelling at 15.

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A photo posted by Kanya Sesser (@kanyasesser) on

While she says it's more a of side job, she acknowledges modelling helps tell her story and shows a different side of beauty.

"I love showing people what beauty can look like," she told New York Daily News. "These images show my strength."

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She said people seem to lack confidence and don't realise their inner strength.

"Most people shut themselves down [because] society makes them feel awkward with the situation they're in. You have to make a different [path] for yourself, 'cause no one is going to do it for you," she told HuffPost.

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- nzherald.co.nz