Burn Survivor Turns Tragedy Into Triumph

When it comes to those dramatic makeup transformations, many of us are not only shocked at what makeup could do, but wondering how it can literally transform the shape, texture and tone of the face. Those makeup tutorials on youtube and other social media usually cater to those who want to change for selfish reasons, but there is one woman who is teaching other women and girls the important power that makeup can give.

Shalom Nchom, who goes by Shalom Blac on YouTube—has an amazing story of heartbreak, shame, overcoming and power. She was just nine years old living in Nigeria, an accident involving frying oil at her family’s food store left her with serious burns all over her face, head, and shoulders. Most of her hair was gone, and the tops of her ears fused to her head. But the trauma didn’t end there.

After four months in the hospital, she was discharged and began to see life through the eyes of someone who looks different. “People began to stare at me, or look at me in a nasty way,” she recalls. “One of my neighbors, we used to play together, came in my house and when he saw me ran away crying.” She reacted by lashing out at people. An aunt who lived in the United States helped Shalom’s family get visas so she and her baby sister (who was also badly burned) could come here to get reconstructive surgery. Even after, she’s had to live with very noticeable scarring. “I was bullied very badly in middle school; I always had a scarf and a wig on, so people wouldn’t know I was bald,” she tells Glamour.

For a while, Nchom had suicidal thoughts. After months of being called her names like ‘monster’, ‘two-face’ and ‘scarface’ she moved to America she hoped it would be different. But the harsh reality when she landed in the states was much more of the same staring and further bullying.

“Eventually I came to America thinking it was going to be better but the bullying just continued, to the point that I actually wanted to commit suicide.”

But as she met other burn victims who were worse off, it changed her perspective. “You have to be grateful for what you have, because you never know what someone else may be going through,” she says. Then she discovered makeup around age 13. “I started young, just so I wouldn’t get made fun of at school.”

Through watching tutorials by gurus like Beatfacehoney, Kandee Johnson, and Irishcel507, she began to perfect a technique and…