Car Crash Scars Won’t Kill My Modelling Dreams | SHAKE MY BEAUTY

Car Crash Scars Won’t Kill My Modelling Dreams | SHAKE MY BEAUTY


NELI ZUMA: I used to cry and cry for days and now I am rocking my scars and I rock them with a smile. NELI ZUMA: The day of the accident was on
Friday. I was at work and we usually have 3 o’clock every Friday where everyone is
just happy, laptops down, no one is working and there was something fun to celebrate that
day because I received good news the day before that I actually got a job offer in California.
It was me, Gonzo my friend and some other two of my friends. We stayed over up until
11 o’clock at night which is something that we have never done before. After that we decided
to take the party at home and, on our way, Gonzo was driving. I looked at him and I could see
that he was falling asleep. NELI ZUMA: I touched him because I panicked
and said, ‘Gonzo!’ and then he woke up and it was too late because by then I could
see the wall and we just crashed the… COMM: At just 23 years old, Neli was involved
in a tragic car accident. Her friend Gonzo who was driving the car was killed and Neli
was left with serious internal bleeding. NELI ZUMA: I remember waking up after three
weeks in ICU and when I looked at myself; my stomach was covered in plastic. They took
the skin from my thigh so that they can put on my tummy because my tummy was left open
for a month. So it needed to be covered with something. COMM: Before the accident, Neli had started
modelling and so the scars she got as a result of the accident hugely affected the way she
saw herself. NELI ZUMA: I had a colostomy bag for 10 months
and it was not an easy journey. This is where the colostomy operation was performed. Most
of the time I was indoors. It was when I started going outside and be exposed to the public
and people started asking questions, ‘Why do you have a tummy like that? And what is
that thing on your tummy?’ This is my belly button. They moved it from here to here. Yeah,
it doesn’t look nice. NELI ZUMA: They performed a skin graft. So
they had to take meat from my thigh, my left thigh and put it on my tummy. I remember writing
on my diary, ‘No more happy Neli; no more Neli with crop tops.’ And I started writing
it down. That diary was supposed to be a positive diary where I write things about myself. I
said, ‘There is nothing positive I am going to write about myself, right now.’ NELI ZUMA: It took me months and months until
I actually realised that I need to find something, no more self pity. So I decided to own it
and take it and live it. COMM: It was at this point that Neli decided to show the world that she wasn’t ashamed of her scars. NELI ZUMA: I started calling a friend of mine
who is a photographer and I said, ‘Can we do this?’ I am willing to take pictures of myself with scars and just show it to people that I am back. NELI ZUMA: The first picture that I posted
on social media, I was actually shocked at how people reacted to it. People started sharing
it and they wrote comments about how brave you are, you are such a tiny person but she
is very brave and strong. And then I decided that from there, I’ll post more pictures
that will inspire people. NELI ZUMA: I started creating my blog – writing
down everything. This is where I vent out and do all the crying. My point of my blog is
to encourage people if ever you have scars or you’ve got emotional struggles, write
it all down and to keep it to yourself. It really helped me a lot and people are actually
responding to it. JONATHAN OLIFF: Neli’s energy and her confidence
and her personality definitely bring people together. THEMBALISHA ZUMA: She doesn’t care what
others think. What matters is how she feels and what makes her happy. NONO KHESWA: She is just an amazing child. NELI ZUMA: It takes a lot to accept yourself.
Do something that makes you happy. You need to love yourself first and be gentle for yourself
first before the outside world do the same thing to you. NELI ZUMA: Scars are not a problem to me.
The way I look at them is they give me a reason to be happy. I have this second life.