AJ Pritchard’s girlfriend admits she couldn’t bear to look at ‘hideous’ reflection
Abbie Quinnen and AJ Pritchard discuss their fire accident
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Abbie Quinnen, 23, has been recovering from second and third degree burns after she and her boyfriend AJ Pritchard, 26, were attempting to turn a wine bottle into a vase with a highly-flammable liquid – a savvy life hack that went very wrong. She suffered injuries to her face, head, neck, ear, chest, down her right side and has also lost some of her hair after the accident, and admitted she felt “hideous” after seeing her reflection in her phone screen.
Even looking at the reflection of my face in my phone screen was hideous
Speaking in a new interview following the incident earlier this year, the dancer confessed one of the hardest things for her to come to terms with was worrying that she would never look the same again.
“When I was in hospital, staff tried every day to persuade me to talk to a therapist, but I just didn’t want to, I wasn’t ready,” she said.
“Even looking at the reflection of my face in my phone screen was hideous.”
Abbie recalled being “hysterical” after she eventually spoke to a counsellor who encouraged her to look into a mirror to help her accept what had happened.
But she admitted she “struggled” to do just that.
The performer has had to have three skin graft operations, two of which involved using someone else’s skin – a procedure called an allograft, and at one point was taking up to 27 tablets a day to cope with the pain.
Appearing on Lorraine this week, she admitted she feared her “face would never look the same” and could not return to her dream job of performing.
Abbie said: “I think when it happened I was just thinking the worst, my face is never going to look the same again, I’m always going to have scars on my body.”
She added: “I’m never going to be able to dance or perform and do what I love doing, so I instantly thought that was it for me. Luckily, my face is healing really well.”
Having been inundated with support from fans of the couple and celebrities alike, Abbie gushed over Katie Piper and Claudia Winkleman who got in touch, having been through something similar.
She said: “They were absolutely amazing. I think talking to Claudia, I just couldn’t believe what her daughter went through. I think she went through 14 operations, which is so horrible. I hated having three.”
AJ who accompanied her on the ITV sofa, added: “She gave lots of tips and different moisturising creams [to try].
“You read every pamphlet and everything’s got something different. Just having some actual reassurance you’re doing the right thing, as you always doubt yourself.
“Talking, something Claudia and Katie said, actually talk to someone about it because the same with ITV, the Get Talking campaign, it’s the most important thing. Us sitting here is helping us as much as it’s helping other people.”
While she’s received immense support from fans who shared with her their own experiences of being burned, she has also been targeted by nasty trolls.
One of the messages she was sent on Instagram read: “You should have burned to death”.
Another stated: “You’re now going to look like a waxwork model”.
While a third said: “Don’t go near your niece and nephew, you’ll scare them”.
Recounting the initial incident to Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show, Abbie tried to rise above it and admitted she “feels sorry” for the people who write horrible things on social media.
“It’s so horrible,” she said.
“I just think it’s really sad and I feel a bit sorry for them.”
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