AN inspirational Instagram model who was left with burn scars on her face following a freak accident has spoken of the impact it’s had on her life.

Sophie Lee, from Darwen, who regularly works as a fire dancer, was performing in Chicago in April last year when an air conditioning unit blew fire back in her face.

The 23-year-old former student of Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn, was left with horrific burns, which she thought were healing, but they quickly turned into keloid tumours.

She had to have cryosurgery in March to freeze the tumours off.

She said: “I started fire dancing about five years ago as I have always been fascinated with learning new skills and I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

“I was performing and during my fire-breathing performance an air con unit blew the flames back in my face and set it on fire.”

Miss Lee spent a month in a US hospital before being allowed back home.

The Instagram sensation, who has 63,500 followers, has been honest about her journey but said dealing with the scarring hasn’t been easy.

She said: “At first I was distraught and wasn’t in a good way at all mentally.

“ I wanted to give up and lost hope, then I really thought about how much my story could help others and that’s what’s given me the strength to carry on.”

She now has a second operation booked for September which will hopefully remove the remaining tumour, although she will be left with scars for life.

Miss Lee said her Instagram followers have been amazing throughout it all as she has had support from around the world. However, it hasn’t all been rosy.

She said: “I’ve had a lot of online trolls but that’s to be expected, not everyone will love you, but I always respond with kindness.”

Determined not to let her scars affect her work, Miss Lee said even though she’s still healing and has to wear a mask to prevent UV rays from the sun damaging her skin further, she hopes her story will help others.

She said: “Even if it’s helped people who have other issues not just with scars, I want my story to help people realise that they should love themselves no matter what and that we shouldn’t take life for granted.”