Acid attack survivor Reshma Qureshi walked the runway at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) on Thursday amid rounds of applause from the audience.
Nineteen-year-old Qureshi, who hails from Allahabad but now resides in Mumbai, wore a dress designed by Archana Kochhar. She was a victim of an acid attack a couple of years ago, which left her blind in one eye and disfigured her face.
Qureshi wore a beautiful cream floral floor-length gown for her first stint on the ramp at NYFW.
"I feel really good and the experience was great... I want to tell the world â€” do not see us in a weak light and see that even we can go out and do things," the acid attack survivor told AFP.
"For a few moments, I couldn't even believe I would come in such a big place and walk on such a big stage," Qureshi told reporters through a translator, adding that she had never thought that she would walk the ramp at a fashion show.
FTL Moda, a company that is committed to challenging beauty stereotypes prevalent in the fashion industry, invited Qureshi to walk the ramp at the NYFW.
"People have a tendency to look at acid attack survivors from one perspective. I don't want them to look at them like that anymore," Qureshi, who had been attacked by her estranged brother-in-law and two other men, told AFP.
Qureshi has been working with acid-attack survivors and has made beauty-advice videos on YouTube. Her efforts led to the Indian government to ban the sale of acid in the open market.
"I believe beauty is not external, but rather what comes from within," Indian designer Archana Kochhar said in a news release, adding that she chose Quereshi to walk the ramp because of her involvement with acid-attack survivors.
"You need to take one second and look at Reshma and see how strong she is, how she can change her life. And I think people can draw strength from that," Bollywood actress Sunny Leone, who also walked the ramp for Kochhar's fashion show, told reporters.