By Cara Sulieman
A MODEL who thought her career was over when she was glassed in the face has returned to her dream job and has work “flooding in” after battling back from her horrific injuries.
Jo Minto was just 20 when a glass aimed at the man she was sitting next to shattered in her face.
The pretty blonde was left needing 35 facial stitches and was partially blinded by the incident.
But now Jo is back in front of the camera following a gruelling recovery and is in the running to win a photo shoot with lads’ magazine Nuts.
The defiant model, from Edinburgh, said: “I feel that I have my dream back again.
“When you have a set-back it sometimes drives you on to try harder.
“But I could not have done it without the support of my family, my fiancée and all the doctors and surgeons.”
Just back from a Diesel photo shoot in London, the aspiring model was blinded in one eye and heavily scarred when yob Alexander Varndell missed his target on February 8, 2007.
The 20-year-old had been aiming at a Welsh rugby fan who was talking to his girlfriend at the New Plough bar in Tranent, East Lothian, but missed, shattering Jo’s dreams.
Doctors took four days to get all the shards of glass out of her face and the model was too scared to see what she looked like.
Jo explained: “I didn’t look in the mirror for ages.
“I couldn’t bring myself to.
“But then one day I caught sight of myself.
“I just burst into tears. I had hardly cried at all throughout it.
“Maybe I was bottling it all up.
“But seeing how injured I was…it just came out.
“It dawned on me that I could be a scarred monster for the rest of my life.”
Doctors at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary referred the model to plastic surgeons at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, but Jo was convinced her blossoming career was over.
She said: “Before it all happened I was doing bits of stuff, trying to build up my portfolio and get magazine shoots.
“I felt like I was on the brink of something. It all seemed really positive.
“So after it happened I had to cancel all the things I had lined up.
“I thought it was all over, I thought that was that, done.
“And I began focusing on my IT career working at the time at Jewel and Esk College.”
For two years, the model’s left eye has been severely impaired.
A shard of glass pierced her cornea – if it had gone deeper she would have had to wear a glass eye.
But her eyesight began to heal at the end of last year and is now fully restored.
Jo said: “It’s come back after lots and lots of medical appointments with specialists. It returned after a long time but it came back very slowly.
“I was starting to get some sight back in it at one point and then one morning I woke up and it was gone again.
“I had been getting so excited and telling everyone about it and it suddenly disappeared.”
Now the only sign of the attack is a small lump of scar tissue on her forehead that hides a small piece of glass.
She said: “You can hardly notice it and now I feel I have fully recovered.
“You can’t see any scarring on my face, unless you are up close, and with a little make-up you would never know anything had happened at all.”
And now Jo has decided to give modelling another shot.
She said: “I thought ‘stuff it, give it another go and get back into it’.
“The work has been flooding in. It has given me a real confidence boost to see that people want to work with me again and everything has spiralled from there.
“I’m now juggling my 9-5 job at British Gas Dyno Rod with modelling work.”
She has signed with several agencies and it the cover girl of online magazine ‘Recon-Rag Air Softing’ – a website promoting war games like paintballing.
She is also currently leading a poll to win a photo shoot with lads’ mag Nuts.
Alexander Varndell admitted culpable and reckless conduct when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in August 2007 and was later sentenced to two years in jail.
He was released on an electric tag after serving nine months of his sentence.