The model, who appeared on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan, was painting graffiti on a train in Hamburg, Germany, when the electricity from the car cables jumped to the metal spray can in his hand, knocking him unconscious.
“I was in a coma for a day and a half. The doctors could not say if I would survive or not,” he told Cosmopolitan.com. “I had burns over 90 percent of my body.”
Gerhardt spent three months in the hospital and underwent ten surgeries – totaling more than $500,000 – to treat his burns.
A photo posted by FABIO D’ONOFRIO (@fabio_donofrio) on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:05am PST
“At the time, I did not expect to model ever again, but my agent, Christian, told me Prada had asked to book me as an exclusive for their show,” he says. “After that, I was back into this Fashion Week thing again.”
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Though he’d previously only booked editorials that covered his scars, Gerhardt walked shirtless at the Xander Zhou fashion show on Jan. 11 during London Fashion Week.
Gerhardt says modeling with his scars makes him feel “super confident to be alive, just to be there, to rule again.”
And rather than holding him back, Gerhardt adds his scars have even helped with his career.
“Before, I was just this model, but it’s different now. It’s more personal. Now I am Julius,” he says. “They know my name. They know my story. They know me.”