An Acid Attack Survivor Stars In This Indian Sari Label’s Ads

Photo: Via Viva N Diva/YouTube.
Indian sari brand Viva N Diva has cast acid attack survivor Laxmi Saa in its inspiring new campaign, entitled “Face of Courage.” When Saa was 15 years old, she was doused with acid by a 32-year-old man for denying his marriage proposal. Saa, who’s now 26, has become a vocal advocate against unregulated acid sales in the years since surviving the harrowing assault. She’s also spoken out against too-lenient punishment policies for attackers. Her objective for taking on the fashion project eclipses the reasoning behind most ad campaigns — she says she wants to “set an example for women like me to be confident and have courage despite their physical appearances,” as she told BBC. An acid-burn victim starring in fashion ads is also, hopefully, a loaded lesson for individuals inflicting these sorts of horrific, physically deforming crimes against women: “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,” Saa told BBC. As many as 1,500 acid attacks are documented globally each year — but the real figure is likely to be far higher, Acid Survivors Trust International executive director Jaf Shah told Refinery29 last year. (To wit: there may be up to 1,000 attacks annually just in India, and many go unreported, according to Shah.) You’ll find additional powerful stories and image of survivors here and here. The campaign video, which provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the shoot, concludes with a bit more information about the casting and its significance: It's “an initiative dedicated to those who lost their physical beauty due to the horrific acid attacks…with an aim to create new opportunities for them in the fashion industry.” Check out the full video below.

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