She was nearly killed by a drunk driver.
Photo via Instagram
For those who’ve been the victim of a terrible accident, abuse, or trauma, it’s nearly impossible not to become defined by the experience. Many trauma survivors, if they have the means, can overcome the experience through intensive therapy, but many will never go back to the life they lived before. That’s why model Paola Antonini França Costa is inspiring. Her empowering images show how she’s reclaimed her life after tragedy.
In 2014, Costa and her boyfriend were loading up their car for a trip to see friends on New Year’s Eve. Costa was packing the trunk when a drunk driver in a Fiat slammed into her, shattering her leg. “I’d never felt such intense pain in my life,” she said to Brazilian news site Veja BH, in an interview that was later translated by the Daily Mail. “I chose not to look to see the size of the damage, but I knew it was serious.” Costa would end up having her left leg amputated above the knee, leaving her modeling career in serious jeopardy.
But Costa has fought back and gained confidence by photographing herself enjoying life while proudly showing her prosthetic leg. Models’ bodies are always under intense scrutiny, so by making her her prosthesis visable, Costa sends an empowering message. “I want to be a model for other amputees,” she says. Now, she shares her new life on Instagram with over 600,000 fans, who have taken to calling her guerreira, which translates to “warrior” in English.