Jessica Smith was born without a left arm. By the time she was a teenager, she was representing Australia in swimming in the 2004 Paralympic Games.
Now she’s an internationally recognised advocate for postive body image as well an an author and storyteller. Jessica has also been married for two years and has a 17-month-old daughter, Alya, with her husband Hamid.
Aside from Jessica’s already incredible life, there’s something really interesting about her relationship that you might not realise. She converted to Islam shortly before marrying Hamid, at the request of his family — a decision she made only after the slightest hesitation.
Her mum was most concerned at the news, although her father and brothers were also worried about Jessica signing up to what is probably one of the most controversial and misunderstood religions in the world.
The four questions every kid asks Jessica Smith. Article continues…
“Knowing me and how strong-willed I am and how I would never put myself in a situation where I wasn’t making decisions for myself based on my own ideas, I think they knew I would never do something like that if it meant that I was in any way, shape or form doing it because somebody else told me to do it,” Jessica explains.
“It’s really interesting because my father converted to Catholocism for my mum, so I suppose I didn’t see it as – not so much a huge thing.
“I saw it as okay; as a married couple it seems right to unite in terms of wanting to just have the same perspective and morals and values when we start a family. So that was my understanding of it.”
Jessica admits it was a bit “confronting” when she and Hamid told his parents they were engaged and they told her she’d need to convert.