#ModelCrushMonday: Katie Piper

Katie Piper is my #ModelCrushMonday as she is beautiful because of what has happened to her – not despite.

Many of my readers are models, so just picture this. It’s a normal sort of day. You’ve got a couple of castings tomorrow, it’s been a bit quiet lately but you’re feeling positive as you’re taking care of yourself and you have a good relationship with your bookers. The BOOM. You lose your main asset – your looks – in a second. Your life is over as you know it.

Katie beforeKatie before the attack

This is basically what happened to Katie Piper. The young model and aspiring TV presenter had acid thrown in her face by an accomplice of her ex-boyfriend, who had previously greviously assaulted her. This burned the skin on her face, blinded her in one eye and demanded reconstructive surgery in which her skin was taken off her face and replaced (following which she was put in a medically induced coma while it began to grow back).

Katie attack

Now I’m just trying to picture how I’d take this happening to me. Devastation, mainly. From a practical point of view, I’d lose my main source of income and it’s not like I’m trained in another area of work. I’m not married or anything, so I’d have to find a way to work and support myself, pronto. Then there’s the unfathomable emotional side of losing my looks. Now I don’t class myself as vain, but to go from being paid for the way I look to slowly reconstructing my face, knowing that people’s reactions to what they see would go from the spectrum of admiring/not noticing to pitying/outright staring? And what about my handsome, loving boyfriend – surely that would change things? Not only would I find that incredibly sad, but I’d probably have to fight a toxic bitterness towards the man who did this to me. I think it’d be hard to get on with my life – I’d want to stay inside and make myself as invisible as possible, to be honest.

Well Katie Piper did the opposite. She gave up her anonymity to talk about her ordeal to raise awareness for burns victims, and starred in the documentary Katie Piper: My Beautiful Face. Katie’s strength, resilience and desire to talk about her plight has had great resonance with the British public and she has set up her own charity for people with scars, the Katie Piper Foundation. I recently saw her on a programme called Body Shockers, in which she met a beautiful young woman desperate for a huge breast enlargement. Seeing Katie, happy and secure in herself after such an agonising experience, sat next to this needlessly insecure woman really hit home about society’s obsession with exterior appearance.

Katie now

Katie campaigns to bring awareness to the plight of scar victims and how difficult it is to feel included in society because of them. Here she is with a range of scar treatments by remescar. 

Katie is living proof of how ridiculous this obsession is. She could have taken this experience and hidden away from the world, which is exactly what her attacker would have wanted. She could have lost all confidence in herself once her looks had transformed overnight. But she didn’t. She did the opposite, and the courage and strength she exudes gives her a beauty that eclipses her experience – and truly proves that beauty comes from the inside.

Check out katiepiperfoundation.org.uk

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