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How a 'freak accident' taught me that beauty comes from within

Actress and model Celina Jade opened up about her journey to accepting her third-degree burn scars and her definition of beauty.
/ Source: TODAY

Celina Jade is a Chinese-American actress and model. After suffering third-degree burns across her chest and arms from a kitchen accident, Jade said she gained a greater understanding of how beauty truly comes from within. She recently spoke with TODAY Style about her journey.

In 2012, I got into a really bad burn accident. Basically, I put hot soup and vegetables in a blender and the blender exploded, so I got up to third-degree burns all the way from my arms to my chest.

I was in the hospital every day. The doctors in Hong Kong said to me, "You know, you won't be able to model again or act again. Because entertainment is a very body-centered business or appearance-centered business."

It was a very tough time for me. Because it wasn't until I got burnt that I realized how much of my identity I put in my looks.

For more inspiration, see the 2017 TODAY Style Heroes list.

I love my scars because now I have a message to everybody: From health comes happiness and beauty and all the beautiful, bright things in the world.

I learned how important it is for us to put our sense of identity in deeper things than skin-deep issues.

Celina Jade
Celina Jade walks the red carpet ahead of the 'The Leisure Seeker (Ella & John)' screening during the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 3.Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

When I first got burned, I was definitely really afraid. I was afraid to even tell my manager that it happened to me. So I kept it from him for a month because I was worried that he'd say, "Oh, I can't manage you anymore."

But after that I realized that, you know, my ability doesn't come from my looks. I'm an actor. I'm here to play roles. I'm here to share other people's stories. And nobody's life is perfect. Nobody has a perfect life. It is these little imperfections that make everybody's story interesting. And so I embraced my scars and said to myself, "OK, this will now be a part of my story and that is beautiful."

When it comes to body positivity, I really admire Turia Pitt. She's a lady who got caught in a grass fire and later ran an ultramarathon despite how she looks on the outside. After being burned, she was brave. She came out. She was on all these different magazine covers and inspiring so many people, from very young teenage girls to much older women. That is awesome.

To me healthy body image means feeling good in your body and feeling happy from the heart. Honestly, feeling good in my body, for me, is completely diet and health related. If I eat well and I exercise and I meditate and I stay centered, that helps me maintain a healthy body image. Because then I naturally feel good and that radiates.

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My beauty philosophy is that beauty comes from within. Forget about what people want you to look like or what ads tell you is beautiful or not. From my experience, a person's essence is their soul. So if you have a beautiful soul and you do good things and you practice good virtues, your beauty will shine. It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside.

As told to TODAY's Jordan Muto. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.