'I could've died': Why model Robyn Lawley is proud of her scars

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read
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In 2018, Aussie model Robyn Lawley fell down a 2.1m staircase and landed on her face, cracking her skull and splitting open her chin, upper lip and her forehead.

She'd had a seizure related to lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with three years earlier.

Aussie curve model Robyn Lawley (wearing her own swimwear label) has opened up about why she's now proud of her scars. Photo: Instagram/robynlawley.
Aussie curve model Robyn Lawley (wearing her own swimwear label) has opened up about why she's now proud of her scars. Photo: Instagram/robynlawley.

After several weeks of healing, Robyn, 31, took to Instagram to share a graphic image of the severe facial injuries she sustained, alongside a more recent snap of the new, ‘lighting bolt scar’ on her forehead she was left with.

'Could've died'

With fashion week approaching, Robyn was painfully aware of how her scars might affect her work as a model while also feeling grateful that things hadn't been worse.

"I could have died and that staircase, you know, I could've died," she tells Yahoo Lifestyle, while reflecting on the accident.

"I fell so hard on that staircase, I could have broken my neck."

Robyn in hospital (left) after a seizure-induced fall down the stairs in 2018 and (right) showing off her 'lighting bolt' forehead scar two months later. Photo: Instagram/robynlawley.
Robyn in hospital (left) after a seizure-induced fall down the stairs in 2018 and (right) showing off her 'lighting bolt' forehead scar two months later. Photo: Instagram/robynlawley.

In the years following her fall, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit star slowly learned to accept and even appreciate the scars as physical reminders of her body's ability to heal and move on.

"I wear [my scars] with honour because I survived that accident," she explains.

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A 'pivotal moment' in Robyn's road to self-acceptance came while she was working on her new podcast, Every Body with Robyn Lawley: Surviving and Thriving in a Body Shaming World.

Every Body sees Robyn diving into open and honest conversations with people from all walks of life about important, but often overlooked, issues that matter to them.

She tackles chronic illness with The Good Place star and body-positive activist Jameela Jamil, dating with a disability with actor Ryan O’Connell, and how race informs identity with Orange Is The New Black's Dascha Polanco.

"I wanted to have conversations about our bodies and I wanted to talk about things like menopause. I want to talk about ageing. I wanted to talk about scars. I wanted to talk about stretch marks," she says.

"And it's just a relief to be able to talk about it with each other and be human."

Scarred and proud

One of Robyn's first guests on the Audible Original podcast is author, speaker and former charity CEO Lucy Blum, who was left with extensive leg scarring after a horrific motorbike accident at age 18.

The pair discuss how Lucy gradually went from hiding her "gnarly" scars to posing nude for famed photographer Brock Elbank's 'Scar' series.

"Talking with guests like Lucy is such an honour to me because she makes me feel so proud of my scars," says Robyn.

She also speaks with Turia Pitt, who suffered burns to 65 per cent of her body when she was caught in a grass fire while competing in an ultramarathon in Western Australia.

"She puts my scars to shame," Robyn says. "I think she's a superwoman."

Model Robyn Lawley attends the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Launch Celebration at Magic Hour at Moxy Times Square on February 14, 2018 in New York City.
Robyn working the red carpet at a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue event in 2018, just a few months before her seizure-induced fall. Photo: Getty Images.

Shifting perspective

Chatting to these inspirational people on her podcast has shifted Robyn's perspective on her 15-year modelling career in an industry that, in her words, is a "little bit up itself".

"It's definitely helping my perspective and it's letting me take my industry with a big, big grain of salt," she says.

A conversation with 55-year-old supermodel Paulina Porizkova has helped her come to terms with the inevitable yet reviled human condition of getting older.

"Ageing is hard within this industry, it's hard. I'm going to castings with 20-year-old models, and I'm like, 'why am I here?'" Robyn says.

While others feel the pressure to remain looking 'youthful' with the assistance of injectables and surgery, Paulina has chosen to age naturally, says Robyn.

"It's just so refreshing to hear someone who wants to age naturally, for starters, because it's very rare to hear anyone wanting to age naturally without wanting to inject their face with a million, you know, things," she says.

Every Body with Robyn Lawley: Surviving and Thriving in a Body Shaming World is available now on Audible.

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