A model who survived a car crash which claimed the life of a friend says she has learned to show off her scars.
Neli Zuma was left fighting for her life after the tragic smash, and had to have skin removed from her thigh to cover a gaping wound in her stomach.
Neli, who was just 23 at the time, was left with scarring on her stomach and thigh and had to use a colostomy bag for 10 months.
Tragically her friend, whose car span out of control and hit a wall, died after suffering fatal injuries.
Neli, who had just started out on her modelling career, said it left her body confidence at an all-time low.
But after months of trying to improve the way she saw herself, Neli from Durban, South Africa, decided it was time to show the world that she is no longer ashamed of her scars.
Neli, now 25, told Barcroft TV:-
“I remembered waking up after three weeks in ICU and when I looked down I had a colostomy bag and my stomach was covered in plastic.
“I used to cry and cry for days.
“I remember writing in my diary, ‘No more happy Neli’, ‘no more wearing crop-tops’.
This was supposed to be a positive diary and it took me months and months to actually realise that I need to stop beating myself up.
“And now, I’m rocking my scars. And I rock them with a smile.”
In addition to using her modelling to raise awareness on social media, Neli decided to create an online blog where she could share her journey and talk to others who have been through similar hardships.
Neli’s family and close friends also played a crucial role in her regaining the confidence to embrace her body.
Despite everything she has gone through, Neli no longer dreads going out in public during the summer time and she looks forward to a bright future.