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Arson attack survivor who 'hit rock bottom' stars in cinema film

PUBLISHED: 14:00 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:44 18 June 2019

Vicky Knight as Jade in Dirty God. Picture: PA Photo/Modern Films.

Vicky Knight as Jade in Dirty God. Picture: PA Photo/Modern Films.

A woman who survived an arson attack aged eight has told how her starring role in a new film has changed her life.

Vicky Knight, from Dagenham, was sleeping above the Prince of Wales in Stoke Newington when the blaze broke out.

Two of her young cousins and the man who saved her life all died in the blaze, and Vicky was left with severe burns.

For years, she was bullied and tormented and hated looking at herself in the mirror.

But it was these scars, along the side of her face and on her left arm and hand, that are the reason she has the starring role in a new film.

In Dirty God, made by Dutch director Sacha Polak, she plays Jade, a young woman who has suffered an acid attack by a vengeful boyfriend.

The film follows her as she attempts to rebuild her life and come to terms with her new appearance.

"I wasn't an actress before this. I'm a healthcare assistant and I still do shifts as and when I can, so I was nervous," Vicky, 24, said.

"There were scenes where I didn't understand why we needed to do close ups of my scars.

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"But then when I saw the film for the first time I was like, wow. I didn't see myself, I saw Jade."

Vicky's fears were grounded in the fact her first on-screen experience was not a good one.

After she made a YouTube video about her burns that went viral, she was approached to make a documentary.

"I agreed to do it because I got bullied a lot in school because of my scars," she said. "The things that I had when I was growing up was horrendous - fags in my face, threats to burn my house down, shouting that the wrong person had died, just because of they way I looked.

"So I agreed to do it to try to change that and it (the documentary) completely ruined me.

"So when the casting director for Dirty God messaged me on social media and said she would like to interview me for a role, I completely shut it down."

Vicky eventually relented and the film has dramatically changed her life.

"I was in such a bad place inside my head before we started filming," she said.

"I hated myself. I had completely hit rock bottom. But since I've done this film, I am so proud of the way I look."

Dirty God is out now in cinemas.

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