For nearly 11 years, Michelle Knight endured unthinkable abuse as a captive in a Cleveland home. But today, her bright outlook has not been extinguished.
Ariel Castro kidnapped Knight in August of 2002 when she was just 21 years old. She was held along with two other young women until they were rescued on May 6 of last year.
Knight's new book, "Finding Me," details her ordeal and how she has moved forward. She spoke with Savannah Guthrie that was previewed on TODAY Friday.
The sit-down will air in its entirety as part of a larger Dateline NBC special on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Knight will appear live on TODAY on Monday.
"Sometimes in life, you have a dark past that makes you who you are, but it doesn't define who you are,'' Knight told Guthrie.
Castro made the home impenetrable to visitors, she said.
"He would take speakers, chairs, couch, seat, whatever, put it right there," she said while pointing at the model of the home. "And he'll block anyone, like, getting up the stair at all."
Knight is now focused on making the most of her life. She lives in her own apartment now and is taking cooking classes in hopes of becoming a chef. She has even changed her name.
"I felt like every brand new start needs new beginnings,'' she said. "My name is Lillian Rose Lee."
Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder, and he committed suicide one month into his sentence.
Watch an interview with Castro neighbor Charles Ramsey, who helped rescue the women.