OAM. Jessica Smith OAM

Paralympian, author and Pride of Australia Medal Winner


Jessica Smith is truly an inspirational woman. Born without a left arm, she went on as a teenager to represent Australia for swimming at the Paralympic Games. She’s overcome an eating disorder as a young adult and is now an author of a children’s book, and internationally recognised advocate and speaker for positive body image.

Current work

Jessica is also an Ambassador for Layne Beachley’s foundation ‘Aim For The Stars’ as well as being an Ambassador for the Australia Day Council.

With all these accolades aside, Jessica’s proudest life moment is recently becoming a mother. This new path to motherhood has inspired her to create a series of children’s books, which celebrate diversity and difference.

Previous experience

Paralympic Games: Jessica represented Australia from age 13 to 21, managing to achieve great success both in the water and out, completing a Science degree while training for the 2004 Paralympic Games. After a successful international swimming career, Jessica was forced into early retirement at age 21 after a life long battle with eating disorders. Although hitting rock bottom was devastating, it allowed Jessica to redefine her passion and she has since used her experiences to become a prominent body image activist.

Social Media: Jessica created the award winning social media campaign (“Join The Revolution”) promoting positive body image. The global success of the campaign catapulted Jessica into the realm of activism; educating people about the complexity of body image as something that is not merely an issue of vanity, but rather one that encompasses race, religion, gender, sexuality, disability and diversity at all levels. Her in depth analysis of these issues has seen her take the stage at major UN events where she is seen as an expert in the industry.

Speaking: Jessica has stood on many other platforms throughout schools, universities, businesses, and communities as a sought after motivational & public speaker and MC. Jessica is often asked to share her story and comment on social and women’s issues, having made appearances on the Today Show, The Project, Triple J’s Hack, The Sunday Telegraph, ABC Radio, ABC3 Kids, The Sunday Times, Grazia Magazine, Australian Natural Health magazine, New Idea, Women’s Health & The Guardian. Jessica has also been interviewed by Cameron Diaz for her blog and is a frequent contributor for numerous other well know international blogs, as well as being a health and wellness writer at the Huffington Post.

Awards: Jessica has been notably recognised for her incredible work within the community, recently awarded ‘Emerging Leader’ by the Australian Government at the Positive Body Image Awards, a ‘Pride of Australia Medal’ in Western Australia, and In 2015, she was a state finalist for ‘Young Australian of the Year’.


Talking Points
The Power of Body Image
Leadership without the ego
Hitting Rock Bottom, and how Powerful it can be
You can have it all - just not all at once
Maintaining a winning mindset