Indian activist and acid-attack survivor, Reshma Qureshi, appeared cool and confident as she opened designer Archana Kochhar's New York Fashion Week show Thursday.
Qureshi lost her eye and suffered severe burns on her way to school in 2014 when her estranged brother-in-law and a group of men attacked her and threw sulfuric acid on her face.
Qureshi described the impact of the moment for her.
"After the acid attack happened to me, I never thought in my wildest dreams that something like this could happen to me,” said Qureshi. “That I would come to such a big place and walk on such a big stage."
Qureshi is known for her YouTube beauty tip tutorials in conjunction with the Indian non-profit “Make Love Not Scars.” Together, they have launched a campaign calling for a ban of open acid sales in India.
Acid is still readily available in India although a 2013 law ordered limited acid sale unless a seller maintains a record of the buyers and orders states to pay acid attack victims $1,400 in compensation.
Canadian-Indian actress, Sunny Leone, also walked in the show and said she hoped Qureshi’s appearance at the event would help bring tougher penalties for men who commit such crimes.
“I have goosebumps on my face, the fact that she's here, and she's strong, and she's such a lovely young lady, she has so many things going for her,” said Leone.
Leone added: "Something that doesn't happen in India is harsher punishments for the young men, or the man, the boy, whoever has done this to her, or to other young women in India which I hope to see change. I live there. And I see firsthand how things are run, and I really hope that it does change."
Qureshi is determined to spread awareness, and bestow hope and confidence to anyone who has endured the same horror.
“This event was really important to me because what happened to me has happened to lots of other girls, and they'll see me and this will give them courage,” said Qureshi. “And it will also show people who judge people based on their appearances, not to ignore girls like me. My aim is that everybody should look at everyone through the same eyes, that I am just the same as any other girl."