SUPERMODEL NIKI TAYLOR'S MIRACLE RECOVERY

Published on: October 25, 2001

SUPERMODEL Niki Taylor -- who was at death's door after a car crash last April -- has made a dazzling comeback.

The 5-foot-11 hazel-eyed blonde made her first public appearance October 19 at the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, and she looked as gorgeous as ever.

"She sparkled," said one of the event's photographers. "What a delightful surprise to see Niki again."

Attending the New York City event was a huge triumph for Niki -- a former Cover Girl model and Liz Claiborne pitch girl -- who was in grave condition after the April 29 wreck in Atlanta, Ga., left her with severe internal injuries.

The 26-year-old beauty's liver was nearly torn in half and she was in a coma for days.

She required several lifesaving surgeries to stop bleeding in her liver and lungs and she is still recovering from her injuries.

After months of recuperation and physical therapy, Niki was released from the hospital and is now at home in Davie, Fla., with her 6-year-old twin sons Jake and Hunter. Pals say the brave model works tirelessly in her rehab, often toiling for hours a day with her therapist.

Her trip to the fashion awards was both a celebration of her amazing return to health and a gesture of support for New York, friends say.

"The trip to New York was very taxing for Niki, but she insisted on going," Lou Taylor, no relation, but Niki's longtime friend and publicist told The ENQUIRER.

"She feels that after what happened in the terrorist attacks, she had to go to New York to support the city and all New Yorkers."

Niki, who has graced more than 200 top-line magazine covers since she began modeling at age 13, expects she'll need another year of physical therapy before she'll be able to model again.

And that timing depends on whether she can avoid setbacks like the ones that sent her to the hospital in July, to have fluid drained from around her liver, and in August, for treatment of an infection.

But at the fashion party, knockout Niki was upbeat. She told fellow supermodel Stephanie Seymour: "I'm definitely on the road to recovery."

Said another friend who saw her at the awards: "She was just exhausted, but never stopped smiling. She told me, 'It's like the song -- if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. I'm coming back.' "