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Mexican model with no arms challenges perceptions of beauty

[COATZACOALCOS] Born without arms, Mexican model Ana Gabriela Molina wants to challenge traditional perceptions of physical attractiveness by winning a beauty pageant in her home state of Veracruz.

Ms Molina, a 24-year-old psychology graduate, said this week that accepting her condition had been tough but that she wanted to set an example for others living with a disability.

"I've managed to overcome everything that has happened to me in my whole life," she told Reuters in the eastern port of Coatzacoalcos.

Having no arms, she explained, had not stopped her from eating, using a mobile phone or writing with her feet - all with perfectly manicured and painted toenails.

In March, Ms Molina will take part in the beauty contest in Veracruz, a state on the Gulf of Mexico which is home to more than 8 million people. If she wins, she will qualify for the Miss Mexico pageant in June.

"I'm going to face the same tests as everyone else, and I'm going to get through them," Ms Molina said. "I feel like any other normal person because I've lived my life like that. So, for me my disability is not a limit, on the contrary."

Ms Molina gives motivational talks and occasionally works as a model for a clothing line.

REUTERS