From first glance, it’s clear that Australia’s Turia Pitt is not your typical magazine cover star.
The 26-year-old mining engineer was running an ultra marathon in 2011 when she was caught in an out-of-control bush fire that left her with burns over 64 percent of her body. Pitt lost all the digits on her right hand and spent almost six months in the hospital.
Three other runners were also injured in the blaze.
After the ordeal, Pitt began sharing the story of her improbable survival, becoming a motivational speaker as well as an ambassador for Interplast, a charity that benefits medical organizations in the Pacific Rim.
While serving on the judging panel for The Australian Women’s Weekly‘s scholarship program, Pitt left the magazine’s editors with a major girl-crush.
“Any attempt to describe the magic and beauty of Turia seems to get lost in platitudes and clichés,” Australian Women’s Weekly editor-in-chief Helen McCabe said in a statement. “Yet I have never met a more remarkable person.”
“The July cover had to belong to her,” she added.
Pitt called the cover “a huge honor,” hoping that the issue will send the message to women “that confidence equals beauty.”
Inside the issue, she tells the magazine about her unlikely survival and long recovery, calling herself “the luckiest girl in the world.”