Acid Attack Survivor Is The Face Of A Popular Indian Fashion Brand

In what is one of the coolest pieces of fashion-related news I’ve heard in awhile, activist and acid attack survivor Laxmi Saa was just announced as the new face of popular Indian sari company Viva N Diva.

At age 15 Laxmi Saa denied a marriage proposal and was immediately attacked with acid — permanently scarring her face and neck. In the wake of her attack she’s become an outspoken advocate for harsh punishments for acid attackers, and regulated acid sales.

When she was asked to model for Viva N Diva, Saa immediately saw this as a way to empower and bring visibility to other women who’ve endured acid attacks or similar trauma.

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“This opportunity to represent an apparel brand was a platform for me to set an example for women like me to be confident and have courage despite their physical appearances,” Saa said. “This was also a platform for me to send a clear message to criminals that women will not lose courage even after they are attacked with acid to destroy their physical beauty.”

The Acid Survivors Trust International estimates there are as many as 1,000 acid attacks in India alone, a large handful of which go unreported. Despite this alarming number, there are currently no laws for dealing specifically with acid attacks.

However, due to a petition Saa created, in 2013 The Supreme Court of Indian directed state governments to create policies regulating over-the-counter sale of acid in India.

When the company Viva N Diva made the choice to have Saa model as their front woman, they did it with the intention of both spreading awareness for victims, and reminding consumers that beauty is not constricted to the physical.

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Of the generalized stigma and invisibility of acid victims, Saa said: “The problem is not just in being a victim but also your victimisation by the society. We are treated as if we are good for nothing and as if our lives are a waste.”