Indian acid attack victim and fashion blogger Reshma Qureshi on September 9 walked the ramp at New York Fashion Week for designer Archana Kochhar.
Promoting the #TakeBeautyBack campaign, the 19-year-old opened the show dressed in a floor-length white gown with embroidered applique panels. Bollywood actor Sunny Leone was the showstopper of the show, who applauded Reshma’s courage and sought stricter punishment for men who commit such crimes.
Speaking to The Independent, Reshma said: “I think it’s important that people hear the story about the survivors of acid attacks and to know they can lead normal lives.”
Here are 10 facts that you should know about Reshma Bano Qureshi:
1. Reshma is the youngest daughter of a Mumbai-based taxi driver.
2. A fan of Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif, she loves to dress up and click selfies.
3. It was in 2014 that the 17-year-old faced an acid attack while visiting her hometown Mau Aima, 36 km from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, for appearing for Class X examinations.
Mistaking Reshma as her elder sister (since both were in burqas), her brother-in-law and his friends allegedly assaulted her at a railway station and threw acid on her face.
4. The attack not only left scars on her face and body, but also blinded her in one eye.
5. She slipped into depression and even contemplated to kill herself after seeing her face in the mirror post the attack.
6. It was during that time that she met Ria Sharma, the founder of Make Love Not Scars, a non-governmental organization (NGO) leading the #EndAcidSale movement in India.
7. In 2015, she became the face of online campaign for #EndAcidSale that went viral where she said how it takes two minutes to put on a blush, while its is only a matter of 3 seconds to scar a face for life.
She was also seen talking how it is easier to buy concentrated acid than choosing the right shade of lipstick.
8. In 2016, the campaign won a Glass Lion and two Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
9. California-based artist Russell Powell, who is famous for realistic portraits on his own hand and stamps them on paper, made a black-and-white portrait of Reshma.
10. FTL Moda, a fashion week production company, invited her to walk the runway at the New York Fashion Week this year.
(Sources: The Independent, The Telegraph UK, The Hindustan Times, The Huffington Post, India Today)
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.