Discover how Lauren Wasser overcame the odds to become a prominent model in this inspiring story of triumph and resilience.
Lauren Wasser, a model and activist, defied incredible odds to rise as a prominent figure in the fashion industry. In 2012, TSS from a tampon cost her both legs, but she refused to let it define her. Today, she’s a vocal advocate for women’s health and safety, using her platform to raise awareness about TSS dangers and the necessity of improved menstrual product regulation.
Lauren Wasser was raised in a family of models.
Born on March 2, 1988, in California, Lauren Wasser entered the fashion world early, with both her parents working as models. Her debut in Vogue alongside her mother at just 4 months old foreshadowed her natural affinity for the industry.
She enjoyed a vibrant and active life until she fell ill.
Lauren Wasser initially excelled as a basketball player, earning a prestigious athletic scholarship. Nevertheless, she ultimately opted for a modeling career while continuing to lead an active lifestyle for several years.
Her life took a drastic turn when she was just 24 years old.
This syndrome arises due to an excessive growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, leading to the production of a lethal toxin in the bloodstream. TSS gained widespread recognition in the late 1970s in the United States when multiple young women fell seriously ill. By the 1980s, the syndrome was afflicting individuals at a rate of about 6 in 100,000.
It began with flu-like symptoms, leading to renal failure and two heart attacks, all caused by a rare, life-threatening syndrome. Faced with slim survival odds, medical professionals had no choice but to induce a coma to save her.
Upon waking up from a week-and-a-half-long coma, Lauren Wasser conveyed in a moving 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. 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.”
Later, in 2018, she encountered another devastating setback when her left leg had to be amputated.
Lauren Wasser champions TSS awareness and the promotion of safer menstrual products.
While addressing the risks of TSS, Lauren Wasser underscored the detrimental components of tampons by stating, “They are made using chlorine bleach, dioxin, and synthetic fibers, which create the perfect storm in our bodies. I have been working with a mother who lost her teenage daughter to TSS when she was 18 — Madeline Mosby. Through the darkness and trauma of that, we have joined forces in wanting to change the world.”
She made a comeback in the modeling world and earned the nickname “the girl with the golden legs.”
“My whole job has been to show that you are enough, and you’re beautiful in the skin you’re in and highlighting your scars and the things that you hate most,” said Lauren.
With this unwavering determination, Lauren Wasser chose to reenter the modeling world and began her search for new opportunities. While some of her peers offered their wholehearted support for her return, there were also skepticsquestioning the possibility of a triumphant comeback.
Wasser made the deliberate choice of gold-toned prosthetics over those that matched her skin color, fully embracing her new condition.
“Making it my own and giving it life, so to speak, changed my perception,” she said.
At present, Lauren Wasser continues to make waves in the fashion industry while advocating for greater inclusivity.
After the amputation of her left leg due to chronic pain, the model has embraced a more active life. She’s returned to her passion for basketball and is training for an upcoming marathon. Furthermore, her modeling career is thriving, with appearances for Gabriela Hearst and Louis Vuitton in 2022, along with features in Lacoste, Furla, and Shiseido campaigns.
Apart from her successful modeling journey, Wasser maintains a steadfast commitment to championing inclusivity and embracing people with disabilities and diverse backgrounds in the fashion realm.
Her advocacy and contributions to the fashion industry have secured her a coveted place on Harper’s Bazaar’s 2022 Women of the Year special edition covers, standing shoulder to shoulder with other inspirational women.