When she was just eight years old, Vicky Knight suffered horrific burns to 33% of her body after an arson attack in which three other people tragically lost their lives. After making a video about the resulting scars and sharing it on social media, Vicky was offered a part in a new film called 'Dirty God', which is now showing at UK cinemas.
'Dirty God' tells the story of young mum Jade, who is the victim of an acid attack and searches online to find a clinic to carry out the pioneering surgery that doctors have told her will not work. Vicky found it easy to relate to the character, as she went through a similar process of searching for a surgeon that could remove her scars. "The feelings I had back then, I had to put into the film and it was so hard. Mine was arson and hers was acid but the aftercare of burns is the same", said Vicky in an interview for Radio 1.
Vicky now works in the same Essex burns unit that treated her when she was a child. She said, "I used to make my scars out to be what had ruined my life. I hated them. But now, they've got me here. In the film there's nudity and for me to be naked and show these scars which I've hidden for so long - it really did mess with my mind. I had quite a few breakdowns on set so all the tears that you see are real."
Vicky said that making the film has 'completely changed her life' and has helped her to come to terms with the scars she received as a child. She added, "I got bullied a lot when I was in school, I got beat up. Even now I still get people calling me names and that's 16 years on. It got to the point in my life a few years ago where I practically gave up. I didn't want to live with my scars anymore." After seeing the film on the big screen, Vicky has realised she has a real talent for acting and has now signed up with an agent in the hope of finding further work.
"The film's given me such a positive outlook on life", said Vicky. "It's such a great feeling to say that I'm accepting my scars. They're me now. If you don't like it, don't look at them."
Commenting on the film, Becky Hewitt, CEO at Changing Faces, said, "To see Vicky Knight, a burns survivor, in a central film role such as in Dirty God is really powerful. As a charity campaigning for change, we want to see a commitment from film companies, casting directors and producers to stop using scars or marks to only depict a villain and to increase the number of positive and strong role models with a visible difference in films and on TV. We wish Vicky and the team behind Dirty God every success".