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Turia Pitt, the Australian athlete’s incredible rise to being the cover girl of a magazine

Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Sports Illustrated, Vogue. What do all these famous lifestyle magazines have in common? You guessed right – air-brushed pictures of models/actors/celebrities on their covers. No blemishes, no pimples, no scars, no extra fat, and sometimes, no clothes either. They have almost become the standard on which beauty is gauged in society today. Little girls who ought to eat healthy and just be kids, are obsessed with their looks, and coveting size-zero figures. In this dangerous quest, they starve themselves, go on ridiculous diets, and some even become the victims of eating disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia.

Dorothy Parker famously said, ‘Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone’. But what makes a person truly beautiful is not what you can see on the outside, but what is on the inside – their courage, determination, inner strength, character, compassion, and gumption. To celebrate these qualities and to show the world that there are different kinds of beauty, Australian Women’s Weekly chose Turia Pitt to be their July 2014 cover girl.

Who is Turia Pitt?

turia pitt australian women's weekly

Turia Pitt on the cover of Australian Women’s Weekly

Turia Pitt is a 26 year-old Australian woman athlete, whose courage and determination will leave you amazed. In 2011, while participating in an ultramarathon in Western Australia, she was caught in a bushfire that left her with burns over 65% of her body. She lost all her fingers on her right hand, and was given very little chance of survival by the doctors. She spent 864 days in the hospital and underwent over 100 surgeries. She also went through extensive and rigorous rehabilitation to learn to walk again. Exceeding all expectations, Turia stands tall with visible scars, but with a smile that continues to shine.

She posed the same way for the magazine, in her natural state – with visible burn marks, without enhancements or alterations. Pitt’s bright smile lit up the cover, redefining beauty to the world.

“When I am asked to describe the pain of the fire, I can’t find words. But I do know that the pain of everything that came after was far worse,” she recalls, stating that her days recovering in the hospital are her ‘dark days’.

Her partner, Michael Hoskins, whom she has known since she was 14 and he was 17, has stood by her every step of the way. He even quit his job to care for Turia full time.

turia pitt with her partner michael hoskins before the accident

Turia Pitt with her partner Michael Hoskins before the accident

“When I was caught in the fire, the first thing that went through my mind was Michael and how we were supposed to have a life together. I felt robbed at that moment,” she recalls. But I’ve come to realize how precious life is and how important friends and family really are. I’ve also learned that when we put our minds to it and are faced with unforeseen circumstances, we become so much stronger than we have ever known ourselves to be,” she adds.

turia pitt working out after her accident

Turia Pitt working out after her accident

She continues to live her life to the fullest despite everything she’s been through. Or perhaps because of that. Since her recovery, she has walked the Great Wall of China to raise money for ReSurge International, an organization that provides free reconstructive surgeries for the poor. She has also taken part in a number of events to raise money for non-profit organizations, including riding a bicycle from Sydney to Uluru and swimming a 20km race in Australia’s largest lake, Lake Argyle.

Of the overwhelming support and admiration that has come her way from all corners of the world since the magazine came out, she says, “While I don’t see myself as inspiring, I’m grateful to receive such an accolade.” And her opinion on beauty is just as humbling, “Beauty can be seen in several ways. It’s in the things you do, the actions you take and the lives you change. To me, beauty is also having confidence, walking tall and looking people in the eye.”

Hats off to this amazing and awe-inspiring lady! We wish her all the very best in her future endeavors.

Does this strong lady inspires you? Tell us in the comments.

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg