When she was four years old she suffered burns over 50% of her body. Her mother had left her alone in the house, and the child tried to burn off loose threads from her nightdress with a candle in the way she had seen her mother doing. The nightdress was of synthetic fabric and caught fire, fusing to her skin. She was in a coma for two months, and remained scarred from the burns. Her mother, an alcoholic, did not visit her in hospital, and subsequently neglected her. Alekseeva spent part of her childhood in an orphanage, and suffered bullying because of her appearance. At the age of 18 she said "If society puts pressure on you and is bullying you just because you have some individuality, this doesn't mean they're right".
In 2018 she was one of the BBC's 100 Women, a list of "inspiring and influential" women. The listing said "Svetlana survived a fire that burned almost half her body and now works to help people with scars feel positive about their bodies."
- Larbi, Miranda (28 June 2018). "How one women has gone from child abuse victim with 45% burns to model". Metro. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- "'I couldn't speak, I couldn't walk' — Child abuse victim with 50% burns becomes model". NewsTube. 26 August 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- "BBC 100 Women 2018: Who is on the list?". BBC. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
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