‘Next’ Clothing Hires Burns Victim To Model At UK Store Opening

Labonya Siddiqui, 21, has created a stir in the UK for fashion retail giant, Next. The label chose her to walk down the runway at its new store opening in Burnley, Lancashire making her the first ever burns victim to model for them.

Her story goes back to 200o in Labonya’s home country of Bangladesh. She was trying to light a kerosene lamp during a power cut, but it exploded and engulfed her in flames. The accident was so severe it left her in a coma for 5 days and doctors thought she would not make it.

Many operations later, Labonya and her parents had to relocate to the UK in 2002 where she could get more advanced treatment on the road to recovery. While her physical body was slowly improving, the teenager was suffering inside. She suffered post traumatic stress from the accident, and was bullied during her entire school career, forcing her into a deep depression.

She tells the Daily Mail she became accustomed to covering her scars for 12 years just to avoid more bullying. She would read glossy magazines as a teenager, stare at the pictures of beautiful women and wish she was as “pretty” as them. But it got to a point where she was fed up feeling sorry for herself and didn’t want to be a victim anymore.

Her group of close friends started encouraging her to go out in public without covering up her scars and also try her luck at modeling, in a bid to boost her confidence. At first she was met with mixed reactions not wearing a scarf all the time. People in school looked shocked that she had the guts to walk around uncovered.

She signed up for a number of modeling websites but faced rejection after rejection because many photographers didn’t like to work with girls with an “unusual look” as they put it.

That didn’t stop the determined young woman. It was major retail store Next who saw something much more beautiful in Labonya that what was on the outside. Today was the store opening extravaganza in Lancashire and many people turned up to see the brave girl’s modeling debut!

A Next Spokesperson said ‘We are thrilled to have Labonya here and it gives real glamor to the opening of our new store in Burnley. She is a beautiful girl and we wish her all the best in her modelling career. It just goes to show that beauty goes much more than skin deep.’

Going forward Labonya, who is currently studying Chemistry and Bradford University, hopes to become a spokesperson and advocate for other victims. Look at how the amazing Katie Piper overcame her tragic acid attack to become a model and spokesperson. Labonya you can do it girl!

She said: ‘I want to represent all the burn survivors who have gone through similar experiences and I will continue to model. I hope when other people like me see my work they will find their own confidence and strength so that they will be just as comfortable being themselves as I am with my scars.’

What an inspirational story of a young woman who rose above her circumstance! We hope this encourages you in your life and walk, no matter what you are facing.
Do you have a story similar to Labonya’s? Have you had something traumatic happen in your life you have had to overcome? Tell us about it below.



  1. Hello my name is Whitney Tomlinson I am also a burn victim. I was burn in a grease firer. I’m also only 22 years old. I was so inspired when I read about Labonya Siddiqui along with her story. From reading her story and reading what she went threw is very similar to what had happen to me. I also wanted to have a career in the modeling industry as well. Before I got burn really bad I wanted to become a fashion model but it seem when I was injured my dreams of being a fashion model just went out the window for me. I felt that I wasn’t pretty anymore to pursue my dreams but I still have the rage and passion for modeling and I would love to continue my career of becoming a model for any fashion line. Now I just cant get out of my shell of being afraid of what others might say if they see me now but I’m wanting to share my story and show people that even thow you can have a set back in life you can still push forward to make your dreams come true. And I’m wanting to overcome that fear of mines and I feel if I get in front of a camera and show the love I have for fashion and my body and the strong desire of being a model then that will close the feeling of being uncomfortable and it will become the least of my worries.. I want to show the world that my scares are apart of me now and that I accept them and that I still love my skin and I’m willing to show my scares and show them how beautiful they are and not to be afraid and how good they will look in clothing as well. I have followed Labonya Siddiqui ever since I first heard about her I have read every link that was on every website I could find about her. She give me power and courage to follow in the line of modeling she is beautiful as ever. I’m hoping that I can get in contact or someone will contact me back or a model agency who is willing to accept and guide a burn victim that wants to get in the modeling industry really bad to show the world that in modeling you don’t hafe to be the perfect flawless skin to rock a clothing wear too look glamorous. I’m another perfect candidate that’s willing to work with a fashion line in modeling. I’m wanting the chance to share my looks and beauty and story with the world to bring a different flavor in the history of the model industry .

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