By Shannine O’Neill
THIS STUNNING young woman endured a harrowing car explosion that left her face, chest, and arms covered in burns, but despite enduring shocking insults from TikTok haters who said she DESERVED to burn in hell she turned the tables on her abusers by flourishing in her professional modelling career.
In 2020, Model Alice Yaxley (21) from London, England, was travelling in her friend’s car when it overheated and exploded when they opened the car bonnet, throwing molten-hot liquid over Alice’s face, arms, and chest.
Alice was travelling from London to Brighton for a few fun days away with her friend when the car started to overheat only 10 minutes into the journey. The pair pulled over to inspect under the car bonnet, which was when the radiator exploded with boiling water and fluid that catapulted all over Alice’s face, chest and arms.
Her friend was left unscathed as the fiery liquid splattered only over Alice, leaving her in unbearable pain from the first-degree burns.
The incident, which happened at 10:30 pm on 23rd June 2020, left Alice screaming and crying in unbearable pain, leaving her friend to try and flag someone down quickly while calling the emergency services.
Her friend tried to flag down a passer-by for help, but was shockingly ignored by other drivers.
But luckily, the fire engine was quickly onto the scene, where they hosed Alice down with water for over an hour as her clothes began to meld to her skin due to the severe heat.
Alice was taken to Darent Valley Hospital, where she stayed for a few hours as they gave her pain relief and dressed her wounds.
Alice recounts one of the most traumatic ordeals of her hospital stay, which was when she had to undergo surgery to peel back the skin of her face in order to remove the loose skin caused by the boiling liquid.
She then got an appointment at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, where she was assessed by the burns specialists.
She also had to attend an eye specialist as the boiling water and steam had irritated the surface of her eye, causing her to have impaired vision out of her left eye for several days, which thankfully healed with time.
After these assessments, Alice was sent home with fresh bandaging and liquid paraffin to dress the wounds herself every day.
It was soon after posting her ordeal online, that she became the victim of unprovoked shocking troll hatred.
Fortunately, she battled through the hardships, and Alice is currently modelling for brands such as Motel Rocks in Bali and China, and has aspirations to move to Los Angeles or Manchester to further her career.
“I remember screaming and crying, it was the worst pain I have ever felt and only got worse”, Alice said.
“My face took the largest hit but the burns did cover my arms and chest too.
“Imagine holding a burning piece of coal and not dropping it, the longer it’s there, the more intense the pain is.”
“Where it happened was on the opening for large lorry drivers to enter and there was actually a man there but he didn’t help us.”
“My friend was asking him to but he just left in the other direction.
“I told my friend to call 999 and a fire engine actually arrived first followed by an ambulance.”
The liquid that exploded over Alice was so hot that her clothing started to stick to her chest and upper body, which she had to take off and be hosed down by cold water to cool the molten-hot burns once the fire service came to the scene of the incident.
“The firefighters saved my modelling career that’s for sure”, she said.
“They hosed me down for over an hour to cool the burns and if they didn’t, the scarring would have been a lot worse.
“They put a thermal blanket on me, but I thought I was hot so by the time I was in the ambulance I realised I was actually freezing cold and all my veins had shrivelled up so the nurse was unable to inject pain medication for a while.”
“The next day, I went to a different hospital where a lady had to actually peel back my face and remove the loose skin which was the most traumatic part for me.”
“I also had to see an eye specialist because the hot air and water had irritated the surface of my eye and I couldn’t see properly out of my left eye for days but luckily that recovered with time.”
Prior to the devastating accident, Alice’s life revolved around her modelling career, which had begun at 16-years old, but became a huge question mark after the explosion left her with intense physical scars on her face and body.
At this time, Alice was primarily modelling e-commerce and working for high-street brands such as New Look, River Island, and ASOS, who she praised as being extremely supportive of her during this time.
Although she had support from her modelling community, medical professionals were unsure as to what extent Alice’s wounds would heal, and if she’d ever get back into the career her life revolved around.
Alice waited patiently for her wounds to heal for months, and once they did, she was left with intense scarring for at least five months after that and was even told by health professionals to stay out of direct sunlight for at least two years.
This was devastating for Alice, as modelling was her whole world, and she was terrified that her career had come crashing down around her.
“Modelling was my entire life, it was my priority”, she said.
“Everything in my life fitted around that one thing. As a model I moulded to be what I was told to be.
“Asos were very supportive during this time, they sent me flowers and assured me they would continue to work with me whether I had scarring or not.
“But no-one could give me answers at first as to if I would ever recover, so I accepted that it was the end of my career, but it wasn’t easy.”
Alice took her story to TikTok in a bid to share her inspiring story with others, but although some people were supportive and encouraging of Alice’s recovery, many people left hurtful comments on her videos.
“I genuinely felt close to the end and when I posted on TikTok I actually received a fair bit of hate”, she said.
“One comment sticks out to me even now: I was told I deserve this and they hope my kids one day burn in hell like I did.
“I had lots of judgment on my character based on my job, which was very surprising to me because I felt like I was being described completely opposite to who I am.
“This was very hard for me to deal with and it made me realise how nasty people can be.”
It was incredibly mentally difficult for Alice to overcome, as well as physically. But what she didn’t expect was for her attitude towards modelling and her self-confidence to change so drastically for the better.
As she learned to love her new face and skin, Alice realised how insecure she was before her face had changed.
“I was a very insecure person before but I gained massive confidence by going out with the burns on my face and seeing I was appreciated for far more than what I looked like”, she said.
“The fact it has healed is just a bonus to me.
“I have modelled since I was 16 and I don’t think I appreciated what a special job I had at the time.
“As much as it was an awful experience, I think it was the best thing to happen for me in terms of my outlook on life.
“Every day I live in gratitude and uplift those that I can as I’ve seen first-hand how positivity can save lives.
“I’d say mentally it made me stronger and happier in the long run.”