Katarina Zarutskie is a 19-year-old college student who has been modeling since she was 14. She also blogs and shares travel and lifestyle tips on her Instagram, where she has over 13,000 followers.
Zarutskie is studying international business and nursing and told BuzzFeed News "I love to travel and I've been blessed with many opportunities".
About a month ago, Zarutskie was holidaying in the Bahamas with her boyfriend and his family when she spotted a bunch of nurse sharks swimming.
She said she saw multiple people swimming around in the pool with the sharks and wanted to get a photo with them.
"Nurse sharks are calm creatures," she said, adding she had seen Instagram photos of people swimming next to the animals "so many times before."
Even though her boyfriend's family was a bit skeptical, Zarutskie couldn't pass up the opportunity for this once-in-a-lifetime swim. So, she went in.
She then laid her head back, and the photos show what happened next...
OMFG LOOK AT THAT SHARK BITING HER.
“I leaned back, and then that shark he came and he bit down on my arm and pulled me under," she said.
Instead of freaking out, Zarutskie said she remained calm and pulled her arm out of the water to stop the blood from dripping in and attracting more sharks.
When she got out of the water, she was very thankful when she saw that the shark had just bitten her on the arm. "I am lucky to have my hand," she said.
Zarutskie knows she is "very, very blessed and fortunate" the situation was not worse.
In the month since, Zarutskie has been recovering from the bite. She said she had to take multiple antibiotics because of the bacteria the shark may have carried.
She said she knows the sharks did nothing wrong.
“They are wild animals and it's an uncontrollable situation," she said, adding that the experience has been a "big learning lesson."
She cautioned anyone thinking about swimming with sharks to know the risks. "I would recommend people to do it but be smart about it,” she said. “You are in their home."