Lauren Wasser is a well-known model and activist who has faced extraordinary challenges to achieve recognition in the fashion world. In 2012, she lost both her legs because of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) linked to using a tampon. However, she didn’t allow this tragic incident to shape her identity. Instead, she has become a strong advocate for women’s health and safety. She uses her influence to highlight the risks associated with TSS and the importance of improved regulation of menstrual products.
Lauren Wasser was raised in a family with a modeling background.
Lauren Wasser was born into the fashion world in California on March 2, 1988. Both her parents worked as professional models, and she made her first appearance in Vogue alongside her mother when she was just 4 months old. It’s no wonder that she was naturally inclined towards a career in modeling.
She enjoyed a vibrant and active life until she fell ill.
Lauren Wasser had considerable basketball talent and even earned a prestigious athletic scholarship. Nonetheless, she chose to follow her modeling career. Despite this, she remained active and engaged in an active lifestyle for several years.
Her life dramatically changed when she was just 24 years old.
During an episode of The Diary of a CEO podcast, Lauren Wasser, who is now 35 years old, startlingly shared her distressing story, stating, “I lost both of my legs because of a tampon.”
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) occurs when there is an excessive growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the body, leading to the production of a harmful toxin in the bloodstream. TSS initially gained public awareness in the United States in the late 1970s when a number of young women became seriously ill. By the 1980s, the syndrome was affecting people at a rate of around 6 in 100,000.
It began with flu-like symptoms, which then progressed to renal failure and, eventually, two heart attacks, all caused by this rare and life-threatening syndrome. With a very low chance of survival, doctors had to induce a coma to save Lauren Wasser’s life.
After awakening from her induced coma a week and a half later, Lauren Wasser revealed in an emotional interview, “I woke up a week and a half later and had no idea what had even happened. They pumped me full of 80 pounds of fluid.” Sadly, her condition deteriorated as gangrene began to spread, causing intense pain in her right leg and left foot. She shared, “From there, my feet were on fire, and gangrene set into my right leg and my left foot. There was no option. I had to amputate my right leg.” Then, in 2018, she faced another heartbreaking setback when her left leg also had to be amputated.
Lauren Wasser speaks out to make sure people know about TSS and to encourage the use of safer menstrual products.
When Lauren Wasser talked about the risks of TSS, she highlighted the harmful ingredients in tampons, saying, “[They] are made with chlorine bleach, dioxin, and synthetic fibers, which can be very harmful in our bodies.”
“I’ve been collaborating with a mother who tragically lost her teenage daughter to TSS at the age of 18, Madeline Mosby. Despite the pain and trauma of that experience, we’ve come together with the shared goal of making a positive impact on the world.”
Lauren Wasser made a comeback to modeling and earned the nickname “the girl with the golden legs.”Embed from Getty Images
Lauren Wasser’s mission has been to demonstrate that you are sufficient and beautiful in your own skin, embracing your scars and your insecurities. With this determination, she chose to re-enter the modeling world and began searching for opportunities. Although many of her peers were supportive of her return, some had doubts about her ability to make a triumphant comeback.
After fully embracing her new situation, Wasser made the choice to opt for gold-toned prosthetics instead of ones that matched her skin color. She explained her decision in an interview, saying, “By making it my own and giving it life, so to speak, it changed how I saw things.” This decision led to her being known as the “girl with the golden legs,” and she resumed walking the runway for renowned fashion designers.
At present, she continues to make a significant impact in the fashion industry, while also advocating for greater inclusivity.Embed from Getty Images
After the amputation of her left leg to alleviate chronic pain, Lauren Wasser has regained the ability to live a more active life. She has returned to her passion for playing basketball and is even getting ready for a marathon. Furthermore, her modeling career is thriving, with appearances for designers like Gabriela Hearst and Louis Vuitton in 2022, along with features in campaigns for Lacoste, Furla, and Shiseido.
Alongside her successful modeling career, Lauren Wasser continues her strong commitment to promoting inclusivity and acceptance for individuals with disabilities and diverse conditions in the fashion industry. Her activism and contributions have earned her a place on the special Women of the Year 2022 covers by Harper’s Bazaar, alongside other inspiring women. In her own words, Lauren Wasser encapsulates her success by saying, “I’ve worked so hard to be myself and never take ‘no’ for an answer.”