If ever Modern Mum needed an example of a mum who’s an inspiration to others, we don’t need to look any further than inspirational speaker and TV presenter, Katie Piper…
The story of Katie Piper gripped the nation in March 2008, when she survived a brutal attack by a stranger at the age of only 24. During the attack, Katie was raped and had sulphuric acid thrown in her face, and was forced to spend two months in the Burns Unit at the cheese and Westminster Hospital, where she was placed in an induced coma.
After pioneering surgery, where dead layers of skin from Katie’s face were removed the foundations rebuilt, Katie went to an intensive burn rehabilitation unit in France to undertake a long period of scar management techniques. This involved having to wear a plastic pressure mask for 23 hours a day for two years, and meant that Katie had to be fed through a tube in her stomach. The acid also left her blinded in one eye.
Just over a year after the attack, this remarkably brave young woman made the decision to give up her anonymity and Katie shared her story in a remarkable film for the Cutting Edge series on Channel 4 called ‘Katie: My Beautiful Face’.
Once her treatment ended in 2009, and backed by fervent supporters such as Simon Cowell, Katie set up her own charity – The Katie Piper Foundation, which helps people with burns and scars to reconnect with their lives and their communities.
Happily, since the horrific attack, Katie’s life and career have gone from strength to strength. Not only has she gone on to make a number of TV shows both in the UK and internationally, she has written three number one best-selling books and her autobiography. On a personal level, she has found love and happiness as a mum to two-year-old daughter Belle and, in November last year, married Belle’s dad, fiancé Richard Sutton, in a fairytale wedding.
While the operations continue – to date, Katie has endured more than 40 – she is still full of positivity for the future and recently told ITV’s Lorraine Kelly that she would be perfectly open with daughter Belle if and when she asks about Katie’s injuries.
‘I’m sure as she starts to put more sentences together maybe she will ask things,’ Katie told Kelly. ‘But that’s fine, I’m just going to be the same with her as I am with everybody in my life and it’s just part of me and who I am.’
Katie recently spoke to MM to tell us about her attitude to what happened to her, to her appearance and about how she looks as good as she does….
When do you feel at your most confident?
I feel at my most confident when I am around good friends and people who are genuine and down to earth. I like spending time getting ready; it helps me to feel good about myself. I don’t think appearance is the tool to my confidence, but feeling good about the way you look can help.
You have been living with the consequences of the attack since 2008, how do you now feel about your scars?
I would definitely say that discovering products like Remescar has really helped with my confidence, both physically and psychologically. When you have an injury, you look to the medical and beauty market to help. However, quite often you can try loads of different products and procedures that don’t actually work. This can be a massive anti-climax and I think can cause more harm psychologically. When you find something that works, something that has an active ingredient, and you see visible differences, it helps you progress. And with progress comes confidence, helping you to break free from your shell and feel better about yourself. I feel far more comfortable in the skin that I am in now.
You have turned a negative situation in your life into a positive story (had a baby, getting married, your own TV show), what advice would you give to others to help them do the same?
It is important to remember that I didn’t feel confident right away, it took a long time. I would say to others, don’t concentrate on the times you fell down, concentrate on the times that you felt on top. It doesn’t just come overnight, you have to really persevere and hang in there. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support and rely on other people. Sometimes if you let people in, the days you can’t do it for yourself, you can do it for them instead, because you don’t want to let them down. For me, I found using a psychologist really helpful, it helped unburden some of the pressure.
What are your favourite beauty products?
Moisturiser is a massive product for me. I always use a good night cream as I suffer from dehydrated skin. I use eye drops every day as my eyes were damaged so can get quite dry. I have also invested in a really good old-fashioned hairbrush, which I carry everywhere in my bag.
Do you ever leave the house without makeup on?
All the time! I often get my daughter ready and put her into a nice outfit and then her nappy leaks or she throws up on my outfit. So at the moment, I would say I leave the house without any makeup almost every day!
What are your top beauty tips?
Always wash your makeup off! Your skin can become really tired and dehydrated if you don’t clean and moisturise properly at night. Always floss your teeth. I think teeth are really important as when you smile you are communicating with people and your smile is one of those things that people look at straight away.
I don’t think you have to spend lots of money on expensive products. Experiment and try different products, and once you find your key products keep using those and invest where you need to.
How would you describe your fashion style? Any favourite clothes you like to wear at home?
I really like the high street. I don’t buy anything designer at all, probably because I like to change trends according to the different seasons. I shop a lot at Miss Selfridge and River Island; they are my two favourite shops. Sometimes I get more expensive pieces from Coast and a lot of my summer stuff has come from Oasis. I am a big fan of Oasis!
Who is your style icon?
I really like the way that Millie Mackintosh dresses. I think she always looks sexy but stylish and elegant as well and young.