Acid attack survivor Reshma Banoo Qureshi just made her debut at New York Fashion Week
Reshma Banoo Qureshi, 19, has been fighting to make sure that what happened to her two years ago never happens again.
When she was just 17 years old, her brother-in-law attacked her with acid, causing physical disfigurations severe enough that she ended up losing one of her eyes. Since then, she's been working with the organization Make Love Not Scars, which fights for the rights of acid attack survivors like herself while also trying to limit the sale of acid in India.
Now more people than ever before will know her name and her cause, because she just made her debut at New York Fashion Week.
On Thursday, Qureshi walked the runway to rapturous applause at the FTL Moda show wearing a white embellished long-sleeved gown designed by Indian designer Archana Kochhar.
In years past, FTL Moda has made it a priority to highlight model diversity, often working with a group called Global Disability Inclusion to find models to wear clothing by lesser-known designers. For instance, last year, they cast women like Madeline Stuart, a model who has Down syndrome, and Rebekah Marine and Gianna Schiavone, who are both congenital amputees.
In addition to Qureshi this year, model Shaholly Ayers, who was born sans her right arm below the elbow, also walked the runway at FTL Moda on Thursday, wearing a dress designed by Sonja Tafelmeier.
But Qureshi's appearance marks the first time that FTL Moda has cast a woman who is an acid attack survivor.
"It has been a journey of discovery that led us to Make Love Not Scars, the most recognized entity supporting survivors of acid attacks in India," FTL Moda said in a statement. "We want to give voice to these amazing women, who have been silently suffering, hiding, and too often depriving themselves of the opportunity to declare how beastly, and cruelly they have been attacked."
Back in August, Make Love Not Scars published a touching video of Qureshi being told that she'd be flying to New York City (she had previously never left India) and walking in New York Fashion Week.
And while she was overwhelmed then, Qureshi was nothing but confident on that runway.
If Qureshi looks familiar to you, that could be because she was the star of a makeup tutorial that went viral late last year that showed Qureshi swiping on some lipstick before announcing, "Finally, the most important tip. You'll find a red lipstick easily in the market just like concentrated acid. This is the reason why, every day, a girl becomes a victim of an acid attack."
The video has been viewed more than 1.7 million times.
Now, even more people know her name and, more importantly, what she's fighting for.