There are countless Instagram accounts devoted to traveling and style, but the one Caxmee started is truly elevating the genre.
In one picture, Caxmee is wearing a deep blue dress that falls above the knees. She's in the Ivory Coast and standing in front of a lavender-colored wall. Her gold jewelry and the metal parts in her prosthetic leg shine back at the camera.
Caxmee was born in Brooklyn but was raised in the capital of Haiti. She moved to Port-au-Prince at the age of five. Ten years later, at the age of 15, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that also metastasized to her lungs. She lived through it, but in her fight against cancer her right leg and hip were removed.
Caxmee prefers going by her alter ego Mama Càx. A friend in college started calling her Mama Càx and the nickname stuck. Mama Càx says the name helps her channel her inner 60-year-old wise woman who doesn't care what people think about her.
Today, Mama Càx is living in New York, and with each photograph she shares with her close to 50,000 Instagram followers, she is changing how people perceive and talk about people with prosthetic limbs. The 26-year-old is also openly talking about her fight against cancer and reminding her followers that teens and those in their twenties can also be diagnosed and beat the disease.
“When people think of amputees, they think of a war soldier or an athlete, and they are always males. But there’s also amputees that are into fashion,” Mama Càx told Fusion.
Mama Cax wasn't always so forthcoming with her story.
"I myself used to wear long pants or a foam around it so that it could look like a human leg," she said. Growing up, she dreamed of one day creating a silicone replica of her leg so that no one would notice she was using a prosthetic leg.
Mama Càx says there was a turning point in her life after she helped organize a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in college. She says after working on the fundraiser she felt more confident and revealed more of herself online. When she started posting pictures of her entire self online, to her surprise, people started leaving a lot more positive comments.
“The comments I kept on seeing were people saying ‘OMG I’ve never seen a person of color with a prosthetic,’” said Mama Càx.
“Not only do I use a prosthetic leg but I also use crutches. I have two," said Mama Càx. She said her partition is so high that it can get tricky walking with a prosthetic leg without an assistive device.
Mama Càx sometimes wears covers on her prosthetic leg that she says really change how people perceive her.
"It’s usually not something people see, especially because it’s all decorated," Mama Càx said about the covers. (Mama Càx has modeled for the Canada-based company that makes the covers; the price starts at $325.)
"Usually the first thing people think is that there’s a pride in it for me," Mama Càx told Fusion.
Mama Càx is also using her platform to openly talk about young people and cancer.
"Anyone can get cancer, any of you seeing this pictures can get cancer. I was a testimonial of that and I’m teaching people through my story," Mama Càx told Fusion.
Mama Càx has also partnered with photographers to take her message to new audiences. She recently partnered with a popular photographer known for photographing New Yorkers in subways.
Mama Càx says she hope people realize that she's just like any human being with two legs.
"Just like anyone else I have goals in life, I have dreams in life, I do everything they do and maybe even more of those things," Mama Càx told Fusion.
Mama Càx is currently working on completing her fellowship in the New York City Mayor's office. She says her passion is working on international development with a focus on disability issues.