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Girls & Women

This acid attack survivor is "the face of courage" in Indian fashion

Laxmi is a beautiful, strong and courageous 26 year-old woman. She is also the new face of Viva N Diva’s campaign “the face of courage.” But Laxmi is far from a diva. She has an incredible, awe-inspiring story.

At age 15 Laxmi said no to a marriage proposal from a 32 year-old old man. You might think a 17-year age difference and the fact that Laxmi was a child would be enough reason for the man to maturely accept her decision. But, you'd be wrong.

The man she declined to marry followed her to the mall, where she was shopping, and threw a glass jar of acid on her face and arms.

“It felt cold at first. Then I felt an intense burning. Then the liquid melted my skin,” Laxmi remembers of the life-altering event. Sadly, this was not the hardest part of the experience for her. What shocked her most was that nobody around her helped. “I was crying for help, but no one came to my rescue,” she recalls in this video.

The acid attack she survived required multiple surgeries and it was years before she regain her confidence. 

But today Laxmi is the epitome of strength and courage. Literally!

The Indian fashion brand Viva n Diva has hired her as a model and named an entire campaign, known as the “Face of Courage,” after her bravery and heroic efforts to end acid attacks in India.

Plus, Laxmi is not alone in this fight.

Working together, Laxmi Saa, the Chhanv Foundation and Viva n Diva, a sari manufacturing brand in India, aim to create new opportunities for women who have been attacked with acid.

After years campaigning in India for emotional and financial support for victims of acid attacks, in 2014 she met with Michelle Obama to receive the International Women of Courage Award.

Laxmi also found a much better marital match, her husband, Alok Dixit, a fellow acid attack survivor who says, “She is a beautiful person and her beauty lies in her heart.”

Her husband sees her beauty and courage inside and out and now the rest of the world can too.

Overcoming adversity and having strength is such a large part of what makes people beautiful. Seeing the fashion industry accept and highlight diversity and courage shows that the world is becoming a more accepting place where the Global Goals can be achieved.

Recently, France imposed serious fines for modeling agents and brands who seek models with an unhealthy and underweight BMI (body mass index). While adding these fines and regulations helps control eating disorders within the industry, it doesn’t change the stereotypes and often unrealistic expectations of physical beauty placed on women. Opening up the fashion industry to women of all backgrounds and body types is the only way to create this change.

Child marriage takes away opportunities for girls and women and can have horrific results. To help end child marriage go to TAKE ACTION NOW.