It was 2012 when Dana Vulin, aged 25, was doused in methylated spirits and set alight by an enraged jealous woman.
The callous attack left the Perth local with burns to more than 60 per cent of her body and she was forced to wear a compression bandage over her damaged face for more than two years.
Known at the time of the shocking incident as the “human fireball”, Dana has spent the past decade undergoing countless reconstructive surgeries and gruelling treatments.
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Along the way, she has worked hard to reshape her identity as a survivor rather than a victim.
Now confident in her new skin, she is assisting other survivors to put their “best face” forward.
Her career venture is helping others – some of whom have also been afflicted by violent crime – to cosmetically improve their faces.
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“Everyone deserves to look their best,” Dana tells 7Life.
“I am restoring what was taken from them.”
The woman behind the vicious attack on Dana – Natalie Dimitrovska – claimed she was driven to commit the crime after Dana had spoken to her estranged husband at a party.
Dimitrovska was sentenced to 17 years jail after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm in October 2013.
Since that fateful day, Dana was determined to be known as a survivor, 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 am a survivor.”
Dana has spent the past decade recovering from the vicious attack. Credit: Supplied
Dana is now also a qualified cosmetic nurse – having chosen the career path after her own staggering facial transformation.
Running her own clinic, I am D Aesthetics, she focuses on facial injections and cosmetic tattooing.
“Honestly, I was told I would never be able to hold a pen and now look at me,” Dana smiles.
Burns survivor Dana Vulin candidly speaks about her journey to recovery. Credit: Supplied
The now 37-year-old opened her first clinic in 2021.
Her clients range from people wanting to reverse the ageing process to other survivors of violent crimes or incidents.
“(They include) people who have been left with scars from car accidents or cancer and even domestic violence,” she explains.
Dana is her business’ own living and breathing billboard, and proudly shows off before and after photos of herself.
Dana is now the owner of two cosmetic clinics – I am D Aesthetics. Credit: Supplied
She boasts a proud connection with each of her clients, and describes as humbling the trust they place in her to remove the scars of their past.
“I create custom faces, not anything cookie cutter,” she says.
“No one has a symmetrical face and everyone deserves to look their best.
“I work to restore their own face.”
Dana’s approach to cosmetic nursing is a huge success, leading her to open a second clinic in the WA Goldfields city of Kalgoorlie.
Dana wants to remove the stigma around cosmetic procedures. Credit: Supplied
Despite her booming business, she is still working to address the stigma around getting “work done”.
“I don’t get it. People don’t shame others for going to the gym,” she says.
“So why shame people for wanting to look their best?
“We need to promote this – feeling the best version of you.
“Don’t say (to someone) ‘What the f*** have you done to your face’.
“You don’t know what they are going through.”
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