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.
At first, Neli found it very difficult to show her scars in public, with strangers often asking her, ‘Why do you have a stomach like that?’.
But after experiencing some of her darkest days, Neli battled on and found the inner-confidence to take her first professional photograph since the accident – with her scars fully on show.
“The first picture I posted on social media was on Facebook. I was so shocked with how people reacted to it.
“People started sharing it and there were so many comments about others trying to embrace who they are.
“And from that, I decided to post more pictures of myself that would inspire others around the world.”