During her short time on the show so far, Bachelor Season 17 contestant Sarah Herron – who lost one of her arms in the womb due to amniotic band syndrome — has already become a major fan favorite. Gorgeous, sincere and plucky, she tells Sean Lowe straight off the bat: “I’m open to talking about it, but I don’t want to be perceived as disabled.” Swoon.
A big supporter of her frank, no-nonsense approach? Real Housewives of New York star Aviva Drescher, who’s also an amputee. Speaking exclusively with Wetpaint Entertainment, Aviva opened up about how women like herself and Sarah are breaking down barriers…and opening up America’s minds.
Wetpaint Entertainment: This is the first time there's ever been an amputee contestant on The Bachelor. What do you think of the decision?
Aviva: Why not? I think being an amputee makes her more interesting…stronger...even sexier. More eligible in my opinion!
Do you feel you've helped pave the way towards helping make America more accustomed to seeing amputees on TV?
I wouldn't give myself that much credit — but if I’ve created more of a comfort level surrounding amputees, I would be thrilled!
Sarah, the contestant on The Bachelor, lost one of her arms in the womb — so she never really knew life with two of them. You, on the other hand, were born with both legs but lost one in an accident when you were a child. How do your experiences differ?
I think the younger a person is when they lose limb, the easier it is to adapt because you don't know the difference. Out of the womb, the adjustment is easier. In that way, Sarah's experience may have been more fluid.
Conversely, arm loss is more apparent to people and she may have endured more stares and questions than one missing a leg. There are functional differences between losing an arm and losing a leg.
Sarah has the option of wearing a prosthetic arm, but she chooses not to. What’s your take on her decision?
I think whatever makes her feel good is the way to go. She’s just as lovely and beautiful with or without a prosthetic. It’s a very personal choice. And I bet she’s rocking those sleeveless dresses. Go Sarah!
Sarah has told Sean that she just wants to be seen for who she is, not for the fact she only has one arm. Do you understand where she's coming from?
I fully understand where she is coming from and respect and identify with her desire to be like everyone else. It's annoying when limb loss takes front and center. It shouldn’t overshadow character, beauty and integrity. I admire anyone for their courage to go on national television. Sarah has real guts, especially doing it with a missing arm.
Now that she has the national spotlight, how do you think she can help causes and charities for amputees like the ones you support?
I think just being herself on the show will, on its own, inspire many. Watching Sarah function, date and live while missing an arm will give others in similar predicaments perspective. For those who don't have any physical challenges, they will be in awe.
I don't know what Sarah's passions are, however, if charity is one, television is a tremendous platform to raise money and awareness for many causes. Regardless, I commend her. Doing a reality show takes tremendous strength and courage. Doing it with a physical challenge in front of the whole world is simply awesome!