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Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspires

ANMOL RODRIGUEZ

anmol_rodriguez_official | Instagram | Fair Use

Domitille Farret d'Astiès - Ewa Rejman - published on 09/18/21

She survived horrific injuries as a baby, and today she's using her platform to spread joy and inspiration.

She was only two months old when her father, who wanted to have a son, attacked her and her mother with acid while she was breastfeeding. The story of Anmol Rodriguez, a 26-year-old Indian model, is extraordinary.

The young woman has come a long way. Her mother died a few days after the attack, but little Anmol survived her injuries. Severely burned and disfigured, and having lost an eye, she spent five years in hospital.

As no family member wanted to take her in, she was sent to an orphanage where she was cared for. There, the educators made sure that she wasn’t discriminated against or ridiculed by the other children.

I have only happy memories of my orphanage. I had four friends who were very close to me, and I never thought I would be treated any different than them,” she recalls in an interview with Vogue’s Mihika Agarwal.

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A post shared by 𝗔 𝗡 𝗠 𝗢 𝗟 🦋 (@anmol_rodriguez_official)

With her strong academic record, the young woman decided to attend university in Mumbai. It was there that she was disillusioned and violently confronted with reality: When she tried to connect with other students, they rejected her.

“Things became difficult for me when I stepped into my college life. I became the victim of discrimination and mockery due to my appearance,” she told reporter Diksha Yadav in an interview for The Statesman.

After falling into depression, she was able to continue her studies thanks to a tutor who personally accompanied her. She helped Anmol to overcome the most difficult moments.

“My tutor really helped me to see the light. She not only taught me to focus on myself and my goals, but also helped me graduate university and find a job,” she told Vogue.

We have to accept who we are

For Anmol, life has never been a smooth ride. Two months after getting her first job, she was fired because her appearance “disturbed” her colleagues.

“One fine day, I was notified that I didn’t have to show up at work anymore,” she told Agarwal. “They didn’t even tell me the reason. It was only when I asked a few days later that I was told that my face had been causing distress to my co-workers.”

At that point, the young woman decided to take control of her life. In the future, she would no longer be a victim but an active and free woman. She created a Facebook account where she started posting pictures of herself—a first for a woman attacked with acid.

“My friends didn’t think it was a good idea at first. They thought people would troll me. But what it got me was appreciation and positive responses instead,” she explained to Vogue.

She received many positive comments and many people were interested in her story. Several brands spotted her and contacted her for modeling.

With Instagram, Anmol has become a real influencer. She posts photos of herself without a filter because, she explains, her goal is not to beautify herself or present herself differently than she is in reality. Of course, she also receives negative comments.

“I’m always mindful of the fact that it’s a virtual space, so I never take anything to heart,” she says. Today, she’s not afraid to share her story and testify to the journey she’s taken.

“Acid does not end our lives. It canonly change our face; it cannot destroythe soul,” she says. “We are the same inside; we have to accept who we are and live happily.” She told The Statesman:

I urge people not to take me as an inspiration just because I am an acid attack survivor or because of my harsh past. Rather, I ask them to draw inspiration from my journey to conquer such obstacles and to take a stand for yourself to become an actor, model, and social media influencer.

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DisabilitiesInspiring storiesSocial Media
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