Acid attack survivor on fashion show runway in New York

reshma-quereshiNew York Fashion Week that began a few days ago, raised the curtain with highlights, including an emotional appearance by an Indian model who is an acid attack survivor. She said she was walking the runway to send a message of courage to others who had suffered acid attacks.

The show by Indian designer Archana Kochhar had its very first acid attack survivor model, Reshma Quereshi, 19, who opened the show to applause, in a long-sleeve, white gown with embroidered appliques, said the walk was important to her because there are so many girls like her who are survivors, and Reshma hopes her move will give them courage, and also show people who judge people based on their appearance, that one should not judge a book by its cover.

Quereshi suffered severe burns to her face at age 17, in the acid attack in 2014 by several males, as she was walking with her sister in Allahabad. She lost her left eye and her face was badly scarred. She said she was thrilled to participate in the show, and never dreamt something like this would happen to her.

Also modelling in the show was Bollywood movie actress Sunny Leone who said Quereshi is very brave and, to be in the show, she has come so far.

Around 1500 acid attacks are reported each year, but the director of the charity Acid Survivors Trust International, Jaf Shah, said the real number is many times higher. India has the highest number of recorded attacks.