Like many models set to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week, Reshma Bano is tall and thin with naturally full lips.
But unlike other catwalkers, the 19-year-old woman from Northern India is missing an eye and her face is disfigured â the scars of a revenge acid attack.
Bano â doused with sulfuric acid two years ago while protecting her sister from a crazed husband â was chosen by fashion production firm FTL Moda to appear at the prestigious fashion event.
âI am both ecstatic and nervous,â said Bano.
Bano said she agreed to appear because she wants to raise awareness of the unregulated sale of acid in India and the rest of the world.
In a video released by the nonprofit Make Love Not Scars, Bano is seen crying as she is told she was chosen to model at New York Fashion Week, which starts Sept. 8.
âI had never in my wildest dreams thought of going abroad let alone walking at a major fashion show,â she said.
It is not yet known what fashion brand she will represent, or what type of clothes sheâll be wearing.
âI am just happy to have been invited for a big event like this and show the world that beauty lies in the soul and not in looks.â
Bano was attacked n May 19, 2014, by her sisterâs estranged husband and two of his friends as she and the sister traveled to an exam center in the city of Allahabad.
âMy brother-in-law was angry that she had taken their son,â she told the Daily Mail. âTo take revenge, he came to attack her with acid, but before he could, I jumped for her rescue.â
The next thing Bano knew, she said, âmy skin was scaling, and I could barely see anything.â
Bano said passers-by wouldnât help and it took hours to get someone to call police and take her to a hospital.
Her sister was burned on her hands.
Bano went through nine months of five skin graft surgeries and plunged into a deep depression.
âThe pain was unbearable, the smell was worse. I had to keep my face covered all the time so no one can see me,â she recalled.
Make Love Not Scars â which raises awareness of the scourge of revenge acid attacks and helps victims get surgeries â began featuring Bano in its videos after learning of her story.
In one video that went viral last year, Bano cheerfully teaches viewers âhow to get perfect red lips,â but the tutorial takes a poignant turn.
âYouâll find lipstick easily on the market â just like concentrated acid,â she says before calling for stronger limits on acid sales.