The survivor of a horrific acid attack has been signed as the new face of a designer fashion retail brand.
Laxmi Saam was just 15 when a 32-year-old man threw a chemical in her face after she turned down his offer of marriage, reports the Mirror.
She’s had a number of reconstructive operations, becoming an outspoken advocate against unregulated sales of acid in India. Now, the 26-year-old has been chosen to become one of the faces of clothing retailer Viva N Diva, as part of its Face of Courage campaign.
Laxmi told the BBC:
This opportunity [is] a platform for me to set an example for women like me to be confident and have courage despite their physical appearances.
This was also a platform for me to send a clear message to criminals that women will not lose courage even after they are attacked with acid to destroy their physical beauty.
According to Acid Survivors Trust International there is no specific law to prosecute acid attackers in India even though there are around 1,000 incidents every year and many go unreported.
Viva N Diva chose Laxmi to represent their brand in a bid to change people’s perceptions towards fashion by highlighting that beauty is more than just physical features.
Ayushi Rastogi from the company told the Hindustan Times they also wanted to provide inspiration for other acid attack victims:
To the eyes that are used to seeing fashion models dolled up in front of cameras, this view was both disturbing and inspiring.
For a moment, we saw beauty in a very different way and all that we could think of was to capture it in a way that gave it meaning.
A truly inspirational woman.