When Shalom Blac was only nine years old, her life changed forever in just an instant.
At the time, Blac was living in Nigeria with her family and she would often spend time in her mother's restaurant. One day, she went to lay under one of the restaurant's big tables with her sister, something she'd done before.
"My mom has a routine where when she's done frying for the night, she would take the big pan of hot oil, and place it next to the table," Blac recalled on the 3rd hour of TODAY on Thursday. But that day, a horrible accident occurred. "Out of nowhere, the big pan of hot oil literally just fell on top of my younger sister and I."
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The oil caused third-degree burns on more than 20% of Blac's body and she spent four months at a hospital and another year recovering at home. Then, she and her sister moved to the United States to receive better care.
Blac was also hoping for a fresh start and wanted to find friends who would see beyond her scars but things got worse instead. To cope, she spent her downtime searching for comfort and inspiration online.
"I was just going on YouTube to watch music videos, and then one day, I just stumbled upon a makeup video. And I was just amazed, just picking on things that people would do, and then practice it on myself," she said.
Over time, Blac got quite skilled at applying and experimenting with makeup. She eventually took her talent to YouTube and shared amazing transformation videos, which began to go viral. One 2018 video shows Blac's crush taking off her makeup and wig, layer by layer.
"I decided I want to take that power back, where I'm not hiding. It was very scary for me, but it felt great," she said.
Three years later, the video is still resonating with many of her YouTube fans.
"To this day, when I meet a lot of people, that's the video that people say, 'This is what I found you from, this is why I subscribe to you.' People don't like to subscribe to me because I know how to do makeup, more so because of how I make them feel," she explained.
Blac now has over 1.5 million subscribers and she tries to infuse a very special message into every one of her videos: Beauty and confidence come from within.
"I don't wake up every morning so happy about having a scar but I don't think I would take it back," she said. "I believe that everything happens for a reason. And this is the reason that it happened and I am serving a purpose with it so yeah, I don't think I would be the same Shalom."
Blac had to learn to embrace her scars, and now the beauty influencer is helping others embrace whatever makes them unique.
"When I tell my story, I don't tell it for people to feel sad for me, but to see a strong person, and for them to know that they could also be as strong," she said.