He was electrocuted while subway-surfing and left with horrific scars — but that hasn’t stopped a man from appearing on “Swedish Idol” and becoming a role model for other burn victims.
“It was the hardest time of my life, having to accept all this,” said Axel Schylstrom — who suffered third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body, including half his face — to the UK TV show “Shake My Beauty” in an episode that aired Sunday.
“It took some time, but in the end, I learned to love myself again.”
Schylstrom recalled how he was 19 when he “did something stupid” that changed his life forever.
He climbed atop a train in Sweden and came into contact with power lines that sent 16,000 volts of electricity through his body — leaving him critically burned and fighting for his life.
“Before the accident, I was very confident. I thought I was the coolest guy ever, and I thought I looked amazing — I felt like I owned the world,” Schylstrom told the show, which features inspirational people who look different than the “norm.”
After the accident, “It was weird going from being this cool guy, the popular guy with confidence and looks and just over one night, that all changed.
“The first month of being a burn victim was just about surviving,” he recalled. “But once it hit me that I was never going to look the same … that was the hardest hit for me to take.
“Once I got to take the bandages off and see my face for the first time, that’s when the journey started. I had to go out for the first time, I had to experience judgmental people’s eyes on me.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has been overseeing a…
“Mostly on the upper body, there’s not much skin that is not burned, like, it’s everything,” Schylstrom said of himself. “It’s basically a big scar.”
He said it feels like “having a shirt on that’s not big enough. It feels like someone is pulling your skin.”
Schylstrom said he listened to a lot of music while recovering in the hospital — and that’s what inspired him to go on Sweden’s version of “American Idol” in 2015, where he sang songs such as “Hang With Me.”
“Once, I was so ashamed of myself that I just didn’t want to go out. I just wanted to sit inside and hide, and I didn’t want to see the face of myself in the mirror,” he said.
“And suddenly, I’m on stage, and millions of people are watching me. And that’s just, if I can do that, I can do anything.”
The special contestant came in fourth.
He said that these days, he is a motivational speaker hoping to inspire others in similar situations to not give up on achieving their dreams.
“These scars make me look like no one else in the world,” said Schylstrom, who has undergone more than 50 surgeries.
“I don’t hate myself, I have forgiven myself for what happened.”
Still, “some people think I look weird, some people think I look scary.” he said.
But “beauty to me is loving yourself. I don’t think it really matters how you look. It’s about how you look at yourself. It’s OK to be different. It’s OK to love yourself, even if you don’t look like everybody else.”