On the first day of the New York Fashion Week, one model in particular captured the attention and applause of the audience.
Reshma Qureshi, who made her runway debut on Thursday, survived an acid attack in India that blinded one of her eyes and disfigured her face two years ago, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“I feel really good and the experience was great,” the 19-year-old from Mumbai said through an interpreter to AFP reporters. For her first stint on the catwalk, she was in a “stunning cream and floral floor-length gown” designed by Archana Kochhar, an Indian designer.
“I want to tell the world — do not see us in a weak light and see that even we can go out and do things,” she told AFP.
This was not Qureshi’s first time standing up as a survivor of acid attacks. She has been making beauty-advice videos on YouTube, which last year doubled as a public-service announcement for an effort in India to stop acid from being available for sale in the open market.
Qureshi was invited to take part in the fashion week by FTL Moda, described by AFP as “a fashion-production company committed to challenging industry stereotypes of beauty.” FTL Moda also invited a model with Down syndrome to the New York Fashion Week last year.
“People have a tendency to look at acid attack survivors from one perspective,” she said to AFP reporters. “I don’t want them to look at them like that anymore.”
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