‘The beauty inside’: Burn survivor becomes inspiration to others, scars and all

LOS ANGELES — With a drop of a pan, Shalom Blac’s life changed forever.

“I remember just screaming and scraping my body, and my skin was literally falling on the floor,” Blac said. “I remember my mom telling me that I fainted. She thought I was gone.”

When she was 9, Shalom and her younger sister were napping under a table at their mother’s restaurant in Nigeria. Her mom, unaware of the sleeping girls below, placed a pot of hot oil on the table. Someone accidentally knocked the pot over, scalding the sisters.

The girls were rushed to the hospital, severely burned. Eventually, an aunt got them visas so they could come to the United States and undergo several surgeries.

A dark place

After the accident, Shalom’s life took a “huge, huge turn.”

“Kids that I used to play with, they were either scared of me or some would call me ‘monster’ and ‘two-face’ and just laugh. I started thinking about committing suicide because of the bullying.”

As a little girl, Shalom loved playing with her mother’s makeup. But she first learned how to properly wear it during her hospital stay in the United States.

“They were teaching me how to do makeup even though I wasn’t good. I used to just have concealer all over my face and go to school. It was horrible.”

Then, one day while watching YouTube, she came across cosmetics tutorials that changed her life.

“That’s how I picked up on how to do a lot of different stuff. And I started applying that to how I want my makeup to look and how I want to look with makeup.”

A girl in one particular YouTube video really struck a nerve.

“She was a young girl who was battling cancer, and she was completely bald. I was just like, ‘Oh, my, how is she so young and so brave to come on camera in a public place?’ So I just decided to challenge myself and do the thing that scares me the most.”

Shalom started making her own YouTube videos. Without makeup, she let the world see her as she is, scars and all.

“I just decided to do a video and then post a picture of me without my wig, which was a big deal. I was so scared, but seeing people tell me how my picture or my videos have inspired them really pushed me to do more and share with people.”

YouTube sensation

Shalom’s transformation videos, in which she demonstrates how she uses makeup to change her looks, went viral. People were not only amazed by her beauty expertise but by her bravery and confidence.

“I wanted to stop feeling sorry for myself. And I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I wanted to be happy.”

Now, she’s helping others by sharing her tips and performing makeovers for other burn survivors.

But her main goal is to help others see what she has now found for herself: the beauty inside.

“I don’t feel different whether I have makeup or not. I’m very much in tune with my looks. I see beauty regardless.”