Reshma Quereshi was seventeen years old when she survived an acid attack by three assailants. Now she's taken a big step to inspire young women everywhere.The acid severely disfigured the then 17-year-old's face. She also suffered permanent damage to one of her eyes after men held her down and poured concentrated sulfuric acid over her. She was attacked on her way to school in the northern Indian town of Allahabad in May 2014. Authorities later determined that the attack was not meant for Miss Quereshi: It was actually meant for her sister, whose husband carried out the attack for revenge after his wife took their son.
The attack devastated Miss Quereshi, and for a year, she was suicidal. Then something happened that changed everything: She became the face of Make Love, Not Scars, a nonprofit which was created to fight for and protect the victims of acid attacks (there are about 1,000 reported acid attacks in India each year). According to Reuters, the videos she's made with the nonprofit have been viewed a collective 1.3 million times.
Then Quereshi, who until then had never left India, was informed that she had been chosen to walk during New York Fashion Week as part of FTL Moda's #TakeBeautyBack campaign, in collaboration with the Global Disability Inclusion and Fashion Week Online, to raise awareness about acid attacks. Mumbai-based designer Archana Kochhar decided to extend the invitation, later telling ABC:
My vision was: let’s push boundaries to include diversity in the fashion industry.Quereshi broke down in tears when she learned she would be participating. She walked the runway on Thursday, September 8. The audience greeted her with thunderous applause. She was the first model to walk during FTL Moda's show. The brave young woman expressed her gratitude for the experience:
It’s important that people hear the story about the survivors of acid attacks and to know they can lead normal lives.
To view Quereshi walking down the runway, you can check out the video after the jump!
https://youtu.be/rIDekoys8Hs H/T: ABC, USA Today