In 2008, Katie Piper was an aspiring TV presenter. The acid attack which left her facially disfigured stalled her ambitions. Over 200 operations later, she’s presenting C4’s Bodyshockers, a series on body modifications. She talks to Stylist about rebuilding confidence and never losing sight of her goals.
I’ve had a lot of psychological help with [trust] issues. Like anybody who has been hurt by a partner, it’s going to stay with me but if I’m angry, who am I punishing? If you read certain newspapers you could be scared of going out the front door but I take a measured approach.
Channel 4 has invested a lot of time in me. They could have got anyone to present Bodyshockers, which isn’t directly about facial disfigurement or my attack, but it fell to me. It’s a strong message; it feels like I’ve moved on.
I’m now as confident as any woman. I still occasionally feel insecure if I have a bad hair day, but doing this show helped put things in perspective – confidence and beauty rely on more than you can see.
Starting the Katie Piper Foundation [in 2009] to help other people with burns and scars gave me a reason to get out of bed. It now has a board of 14 trustees, a social worker, a professional fundraiser and psychologists. But what I’m most proud of is that the first burns survivors who came to us for help now work for the foundation. It’s come full circle.
Turning 30 and being pregnant with a girl has changed my outlook on life. I worry about online safety and how celebrities are more accessible. When I grew up there was no internet, mobile phones or Twitter. Social media can be great but I wish we had a broader selection of role models.
I do have people trolling me online but 99% of people [interact] positively. When people talk to me I never cut them off. They might have been raped or have burns that you can’t see or it might be the first time they’ve reached out to someone. I remember my first time reaching out; if that person had snubbed me maybe I’d have never spoken about it again. In the past, I’ve been on dates and it’s been difficult but when you’ve written an autobiography you can’t be annoyed if people ask intrusive questions.
Bodyshockers is on Thursdays at 10pm on Channel 4
(Image: Rex Features)