Naomi Oni, 20, was walking home after finishing work at lingerie shop Victoria’s Secret when the woman, wearing a niqab – which reveals only the eyes – appeared and launched the apparently random attack.
It is not known whether the attack was motivated by the victim’s work for the store.
Initially, doctors feared the shop assistant had been blinded. But after a month’s treatment in a specialist burns unit, Miss Oni has recovered sight in her left eye and partial vision in her right.
Miss Oni has only recently been discharged from hospital but has decided to speak out to help police catch her attacker.
She said: ‘I look in the mirror and it just isn’t me. I’ll never look the same again.
‘I don’t want people to see me in public. I don’t want to get the Tube or the bus. If I have to go to the hospital I take a taxi.
‘I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to my job.
‘I was planning to go to college in September to study media and fashion, but I don’t even know if I’ll be able to do that.’
On December 30, Miss Oni took the bus home to Dagenham, East London after finishing a late shift at Victoria’s Secret in the Westfield shopping centre in nearby Stratford.
It was around 12.40am, and she was just five minutes from the council flat she shares with her disabled mother, when she saw the woman and felt a ‘splash’ on her face. She said: ‘It burned and I screamed out.
‘I started running and screaming, holding my face, all the way home. I didn’t look back. I was hysterical. Luckily my godmother, who is a pharmacist, was at home with my mum and she helped me and kept dipping my face in water and trying to calm me down until the police and ambulance got there.’
Miss Oni has no idea why anyone would attack her.
She faces months, if not years, of skin grafts and further plastic surgery and even then is likely to be left with severe facial scarring.
Miss Oni is the sole carer for her 52-year-old mother. They are too afraid to go back to their flat and are currently sleeping on a friend’s sofa-bed.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said acid attacks were ‘extremely rare’ and that detectives were keeping an ‘open mind’.
Anyone with information should contact police on 0203 276 1058 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Hidden: Police have not managed to identify who attacked Ms Oni because they were wearing a niqab (file picture)
Devastating: Ms Oni had just finished a shift at Westfield Stratford shopping centre and was just minutes from home when the attack occurred