Seven years after she was liberated, kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard is reveling in her freedom – and open to finding love. Subscribe now for the exclusive interview and excerpt from her new memoir, only in PEOPLE.
They say beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and for 18 years of Jaycee Dugard‘s life, the beholder was Phillip Garrido, the man who kidnapped her from a bus stop in 1991.
“When a psycho grown-up man that has kidnapped you and taken you away from everything you have known and loved forces you to ‘dress up’ and put on makeup for his personal fantasies … your viewpoint can change,” she writes. “I know mine has.”
Dugard recalls one night when her captor dressed her up and tears began to stream down her face. “I was smearing the makeup job he had done on me, but I just could not hold the tears back. I could tell he was agitated, and I knew I had to stop crying. I was scared of what would happen if I didn’t.”
Finally Garrido asked her why she was crying.
“I told him I felt ugly,” Dugard writes. “I remember he looked at me and said, ‘You look beautiful. Here, I will show you. Look into the mirror.’ ”
Jaycee Dugard Tells PEOPLE: ‘I’ve Been Through the Worst Kind of Hell Already – and Survived’
“Well, I looked. I don’t doubt that he thought I was pretty that night,” Dugard continues. “His creation. The girl he took from the bus stop. A girl he controlled and could be anything he wanted all I saw was a very frightened girl who I didn’t even recognize with mascara running down her cheeks and the saddest face I had ever glimpsed staring back at me.”
Dugard was freed in 2009 and has spent the last seven years rebuilding her life – and redefining what it means to be beautiful.
“When I look in the mirror now, I don’t see the ugly broken child I was and who Phillip tried his best to create because he thought that was beautiful. No, I don’t see her. I just simply see the beauty in me.”
Freedom: My Book of Firsts is due out July 12.