Last year I was awarded a Special Recognition award at the Pride of Britain ceremony. I took my surgeon Dr Jawad, my parents and sister with me as my guests. It was a very moving and emotional evening. This year I was very proud to be asked back as a judge.
The panel was chaired by Pride of Britain founder and Mirror weekday Editor Peter Willis. I sat alongside Paralympic superman David Weir, former England footballer Michael Owen, gold-medal winning heptathlete Denise Lewis, Daybreak host Aled Jones, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police Chris Sims, President of the Royal College of Nursing Andrea Spyropoulos, ITV News’ Mark Austin, ITV’s Jeremy Phillips, Marco Ivone of Lidl, and Mirror Editor-in-Chief Lloyd Embley.
There were so many worthy candidates and we all agreed choosing the winners from the list of nominees was one of the toughest challenges we have faced. I heard so many inspirational stories of courage, determination and selfless actions. As somebody who’s been a recipient I know these awards mean so much to the winners. It’s a Pride of Britain award – that’s a massive thing.
One of my favourite recipients on the night was 8 year old Harley Lane. At 3 years old he was struck down by meningitis and was honoured with a Pride of Britain Child of Courage award after fighting back from the brink of death. In 2009 doctors had to amputate his arms and legs to save his life. Yet this year he completed an inspirational run to thank the doctors who saved him. We all laughed when he suddenly turned very shy and refused a kiss from Nicole Scherzinger who presented his award!
In October I attended the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Awards in London. I was once lucky enough to receive an award and this year I was asked to sit on the judging panel. These awards celebrate the achievements of remarkable women who inspire those around them. Women are acknowledged and honoured for their amazing achievements in their everyday lives. Along with promoting a positive image of women and recognizing dynamic role models, the event also raises money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. I listened to some incredible stories of strength and determination; it was very difficult to choose winners as all the nominees deserved special recognition!
I had the ends of my hair dyed pink especially for the occasion!
When I was disfigured in my attack in 2008 I never dreamed I could be a model again so I was thrilled and excited to be taking part in advertising Marks and Spencer’s Autumn collection. It was shot by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz and featured some of the UK’s Leading Ladies. Women who despite being very different people have a strong sense of style and inspirational achievements which propelled them to success. I felt very privileged to star alongside such a wide variety of women I’ve admired for so long, including Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren and Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams. Be it physical strength, dedication to helping others, overcoming adversity or simply sheer determination, we’ve all worked hard to achieve our goals and that’s the message: be the best you can be!
As a beneficiary of stem cell treatment myself, I was delighted to be invited to become an Ambassador for the UK Stem Cell Foundation as it supports an area of medical research that holds tremendous potential. I am keen to play a part in helping new break-through stem cell treatments become available for patients in the UK. By becoming an Ambassador for the Foundation, I hope to be able to help raise awareness and support for this incredible area of medical research, which offers hope to so many people affected by previously untreatable illnesses and conditions.
In July I took part in the Tunnel to Towers 5k run. This event originated in America to commemorate the tragic events of September 11th 2001 and to raise money for fire fighters charities. I was very pleased to finish the race in a very respectable time of 31 minutes! Some of the runners were running for my charity The Katie Piper Foundation. One of those runners was Rebecca Rynor who was born with cerebral palsy. She has difficulty standing without the aid of a walking frame but she didn’t let that stop her from getting involved. She trained for 15 months so I got really emotional when she crossed the finish line with her frame. Whenever I feel nervous before a race I’ll think of Becky’s incredible strength.
In June I travelled to Tanzania with a UK Aid project team from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. We visited the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and I met burns survivors and their families. In Tanzania, people are frightened of burns and scars because there’s a huge stigma attached to them. They believe it’s to do with voodoo or black magic- that there’s culpability and it’s a punishment sent by the devil. The medical professionals I went with do a lot to help dispel these attitudes and they support and help to train the doctors and nurses who are working with the survivors and their families. Many of the injuries I saw had been sustained at home where they have open fires and kerosene lamps and accidents happen so quickly. One of the most frustrating things was seeing children disabled by injuries that in a Western country would be easily treatable. One little boy had to have his fingers amputated because the scars had contracted so badly, with early intervention that could have been avoided. I also visited schools and orphanages talking to youngsters about how they felt about seeing those with burns and scars. Some of them were frightened by my burns and wouldn’t touch the scars. I showed them photos of me working in my office, taking part in a half marathon and out enjoying myself with my friends; I wanted to show them that it was possible to have a good, productive life and be a valuable member of society even with “disfigurements.” It was an experience I will never forget.
I’m really excited to announce that I’m going to be working with Gok Wan this summer!
Gok and I will be helping you look and feel amazing for the summer
I’ll be throwing my beauty uniform back on and showing you all the DIY beauty prep to get your body beach ready!
I’m really looking forward to it and a bit nervous as it will all be live! If you would like to take part follow the link to Channel 4 and send in your application form* Hopefully I will get to meet some of you soon!
Over the next few months I am going to be touring Britain to come to the rescue of people who have learned to bitterly regret their poor beauty decision in brand new Channel4 series Undo Me.
Im looking forward to using my skills as a beautician and life experience as a mentor to understand and help people on this journey. If you would like help with a beauty regret that you have please follow this link to be part of the show