Jessica Cox was born without arms. The doctors do not know why she was born “differently-abled.” But she does. Jessica has made achievements with her feet that most people only dream of. Now she shares her story with people around the world.
Born in 1983 in Sierra Vista, Arizona, Jessica has learned to live her life with her feet. There were many questions at the time about whether Jessica would be able to live a “normal” life. However, Jessica’s father has said he never shed a tear about her birth condition. He had full confidence in her potential. With the support of her parents and family, Jessica became confident in herself as an adult and continued to explore the world with her feet.
As a child, Jessica studied dance in her home town. When the first performance arrived, she asked to be put in the back row. Her dance teacher told her there was no back row. Tentatively she took the stage with the other students and performed her routine. When she finished, the applause from the audience gave her encouragement and the confidence to continue dancing for 14 years.
Jessica’s parents eventually met a Taekwondo instructor named Jim Cunningham. His response when told of her birth condition was that she would be more than physically able and that only her attitude could hold her back. At the age of 14, Jessica earned her first Black Belt in the International Taekwondo Federation.
After graduating from high school, Jessica attended the University of Arizona where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. When talking about her degree, she frequently explains that psychology credits the way people think has a greater impact on their lives than a physical limitation.
During college, Jessica found a club of the American Taekwondo Association and resumed training in the sport. Even though Jessica already had one black belt in a different style, she had to relearn all of the color belt material. The instructors created a curriculum that would be accessible to any future armless students. Jessica then became the first armless person to earn a black belt in the ATA.
Jessica’s most famous accomplishment was learning how to fly. It took three states, four airplanes, two flight instructors and a discouraging year to find the right aircraft: a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane. She received the Guinness World Record for being the first person certified to fly an airplane with only their feet.
Jessica now works as a motivational speaker. She travels the world sharing her story and encouraging people to be creative and innovative with the slogan “Think outside the shoe.”
Photo Credit: www.JessicaCox.com
Michael Jr. brings laughter and understanding to audiences all over the world. Building his career initially as a comedian, Michael’s impactful delivery and versatility has landed him on The Tonight Show, The Late, Late Show, Oprah, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Comedy Central, and more.
After shifting perspectives from only getting laughs to giving people an opportunity to laugh, Michael Jr. now tours the country using comedy to inspire audiences to walk in or towards their purpose while also making laughter commonplace in uncommon places such as homeless shelters and prisons.
Recently, Michael created an online course that’s laced with comedy; revealing that every person has a purpose in life and that the journey to living a life fulfilled doesn’t have to be complex, but can actually be filled with laughter.
In addition to empowering his audiences, Michael also appears in Sony Pictures’ feature film War Room and has starring roles in Selfie Dad and MORE THAN FUNNY.
On the home front, Michael is happily married. He and his wife are the proud parents of five beautiful children.
It was at an event on the rural countryside of Oklahoma where Brian Nhira made his surprising musical debut. As he recalls, he was just four years old on that beautiful summer day when his parents lovingly pushed him onto a stage and told him to sing for a small group of spectators that had gathered. Though initially shy with a bit of stage fright, Nhira faced his fears and he has never looked back.
As a studious student, in numerous music classes and as a member of his high school show choir, Nhira dedicated a significant portion of his teenage years to sharpening his songwriting and vocal skills. In college at Oral Roberts University, where he was an integral member of the University Singers group, he began to release original music that was met with acclaim.
During Nhira’s college experience his music and online videos started gaining recognition, which led to an invitation to audition on the Emmy Award winning NBC show ‘The Voice.’ For his Blind Audition Nhira sang the global smash hit song “Happy,” originally written and performed by Pharrell Williams, and subsequently chose Williams to be his coach on the show. Nhira successfully navigated his way to the live rounds of the nationally televised talent competition by captivating audiences, and the coaches alike, with electric performances of top 40 hits including “Sugar” by Maroon 5,” Grenade” by Bruno Mars and “Alive” by Sia.
Nhira’s recent music has charted on the Global Top 100 Pop Songs and his creatively produced videos have racked up over 100 million views, with hit songs “Would You Still Love Me?” and “Til Death Do Us Part,” to name a few. As Nhira continues to write, record and release new music he maintains a busy schedule performing in countless venues around the world and at events including concerts and festivals, among others. Nhira was recently awarded the ‘Zimbabwe Achievers Award for Excellence in Music’, he was nominated as one of the ‘Best Performing Acts’ by the AFRIMA awards, as well as nominations for the ‘Best International Artist’ and ‘Best Rnb/Soul Artist’ by the Zimbabwe Music Awards; and he was also recently named one of the ‘Tulsans of the Year’ by the Tulsa World news organization.
Nhira’s goal is to be a catalyst of hope through the medium of music, with one of his methods being music outreaches. Over the years he has been able to inspire and motivate thousands of students across the country and around the world with the simple message that it’s possible for them to achieve their dreams. His signature outreach, called the Backpack Project, has donated thousands of backpacks to students in underserved communities.