Lauren Wasser’s name might not be familiar to you, but chances are, you know her story. She’s the model who shared her tragic story of losing a leg to Toxic Shock Syndrome in a Vice article last June. And as of yesterday, Wasser has good news — she’s back in the modeling biz.
Wasser posted a picture on Instagram yesterday of her in Nordstrom’s holiday catalog, confidently baring her new artificial leg in a full-page spread for The Active Shop.
“Super stoked to see this out!” Wasser wrote in the post, admitting she cried while face timing her mom when she first found out she was chosen to model. “Huge moment for me . . . my first real job back in the modeling game.”
If you’re not familiar with Wasser’s story, it’s really worth reading in her own words. The short version is that her impressive modeling career was put on hold when she was suddenly hospitalized in 2012. She had a fever of 107, and was minutes from death, but the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong until someone thought to ask if she had a tampon in.
She did — and she tested positive for Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Close to death, she was put into a medically induced coma, and when she woke up she learned that the infection had turned into gangrene. To survive, they had to amputate her right leg below the knee. Thankfully, she survived, but her modeling career (not to mention her entire lifestyle) was put on hold — until now.
TSS, which you’ve probably read about in the little warning pamphlet in every tampon box, is a type of bacterial infection that tampons can exacerbate. (The bacteria already has to be present; tampons alone don’t cause TSS.) Since tampon companies have started using primarily synthetic instead of natural fibers in products, tampons create exactly the atmosphere the bacteria needs to thrive.
Ever since reading her story (and taking about a month to stop being too terrified to use tampons), I’ve been much more aware of how I use tampons, making sure I’m following the directions exactly as they’re given. And I know I’m not the only one — her story sparked a tidal wave of social media support. So I, and thousands of other women, may never fully know what we owe Wasser, but suffice it to say, her sharing her story was an act of bravery and generosity.
Since her ordeal, Wasser’s been fighting for greater transparency around the dangers that come with tampon usage. And now we’re happy to see, she’s begun modeling again — which is sure to have a huge impact on the acceptance of prosthetic limbs in modeling as well. Here’s wishing her a long and successful career!
Image via Instagram