It was 2012 when 25-year-old Dana Vulin was doused with denatured alcohol and set on fire by an angry, jealous woman.
The callous attack left the Perth resident with burns over 60 per cent of her body and forced her to wear a compression bandage over her injured face for more than two years.
Known as the “Human Fireball” at the time of the shocking incident, Dana has undergone countless reconstructive surgeries and grueling treatments over the past decade.
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Along the way, she has worked hard to reshape her identity as a survivor rather than a victim.
Now she’s confident in her new skin and helping other survivors put their “best face forward.”
Her professional endeavor involves helping others – some of whom are also victims of violent crime – cosmetically enhance their faces.
“Everyone deserves to look good,” Dana tells 7Life.
“I restore what was taken from them.”
The woman behind the brutal attack on Dana – Natalie Dimitrovska – claimed she was driven to the crime after Dana spoke to her estranged husband at a party.
Dimitrovska was sentenced to 17 years in prison in October 2013 for aggravated assault.
Since that fateful day, Dana was determined to be known as a survivor and not a victim.
“I don’t want people to think I’m this sad sack,” Dana says.
“I’m not. I’m not a victim – it’s a state of mind – I’m a survivor.”
Dana is now also a qualified cosmetic nurse – having chosen the career path following her own stunning facial transformation.
She runs her own clinic, I am D Aesthetics, and focuses on facial injections and cosmetic tattoos.
“Honestly, I was told I would never be able to hold a pen and look at myself now,” Dana smiles.
The now 37-year-old opened her first clinic in 2021.
Her clients range from people seeking to reverse the aging process to other survivors of violent crimes or incidents.
“(This includes) people left with scars from car accidents or cancer and even domestic violence,” she explains.
Dana is the living billboard of her company and proudly displays before and after photos of herself.
She boasts of a proud connection with each of her clients and describes the trust they place in her to erase the scars of their past as humbling.
“I create custom faces, not cookies,” she says.
“Nobody has a symmetrical face and everyone deserves to look good.
“I’m working on restoring her own face.”
Dana’s approach to cosmetic care has been a huge success, leading her to open a second clinic in the town of Kalgoorlie, Washington State.
Despite her booming business, she is still working to combat the stigma of “work done.”
“I do not get it. “People don’t shame others for going to the gym,” she says.
“Why should people be ashamed of wanting to do their best?
“We need to nurture that – the feeling of being the best version of ourselves.
“Don’t say (to someone) ‘What the hell did you do to your face?'”
“They don’t know what they’re going through.”
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