Mirror Mirror Series: Katie Piper
Sometimes we wonder how strong we are. I’m not talking lifting weights; I’m talking strength in the face of adversity. One of the best quotes I believe in highly is, ‘Women are like teabags. You don’t know how strong they’ll be until you put them in hot water.’ Someone who fits the build perfectly in this instance is Katie Piper.
Kate “Katie” Elizabeth Piper was born in Andover, Hampshire, on October 12th 1983. Following in similar footsteps to her father, a barber, Katie trained as a beautician after leaving school. The choice was mostly driven by her love of fashion and respect for beauty.
A career with modelling seemed a natural transition for someone as pretty as Katie. She was photographed for national newspapers, took part in beauty pageants and carried out publicity duties as a promotional model. She even spent time as a ring-card girl for Mixed Martial Arts fixtures.
You’d think she’d stop there, but no, Katie also spent time in her career as a digital television presenter. So far her entire life was based around her appearance and didn’t rely very much on her personality. This would all change in 2008 when she met Daniel Lynch through Facebook.
Unknown to Piper, Lynch had a colourful criminal past, and it wasn’t until a fortnight into their relationship that Lynch let his sick nature come through; raping and stabbing Katie. In absolute fear Katie sought medical help without allowing the true nature of her attack to be documented. This was a move she would later regret.
Two days after this initial attack Lynch convinced Katie to head to a local Internet café to check her messages on Facebook. Unbeknownst to her, he had given her details to Stefan Sylvestre, with the purpose of harming the girl. Sylvestre approached Katie and threw sulphuric acid in her face.
Emergency services were forced to wait an hour or more before treating Katie thanks to the potential risk of the, until then, unknown acid. Piper was blinded in her left eye and had extensive damage to the rest of her face. With over 40 surgeries to minimize scarring and skin contraction, Katie needed to find another way to make her life worthwhile.
2 years of treatment and soul searching led this incredibly brave woman to take part in a documentary on Channel 4 entitled Katie: My Beautiful Face. She also wrote books about her struggle to relearn how to live with purpose, in the hopes to inspire and show support for other people in dark moments of their lives.
To add icing to the cake, Katie also started her own foundation aimed at raising awareness of the plight of victims of burns and other disfigurement injuries. With Simon Cowell as patron of the foundation, they campaign for the specialist treatment Piper received to be more widely available to British patients.
Just as an aside not both Lynch and Sylvestre were later arrested and imprisoned. Lynch is now serving a minimum of 16 years, and Sylvestre a minimum of 12, in jail.
Katie is allowing her inner strength and beauty overcome her scars. She is an inspiration in the true sense of the word.
Beautiful by Katie Piper
Paperback, 314 pages
Published September 14th 2011 by Ebury Press (first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN 0091940761 (ISBN13: 9780091940768)
Things Gets Better by Katie Piper
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 24th 2012 by Quercus
ISBN 1780874774 (ISBN13: 9781780874777)