LAUREN WASSER

When news broke in 2012 that model Lauren Wasser lost her left leg due to a bacterial infection called Toxic Shock Syndrome the world started listening: people looked closer towards the disease and questions around the tampon industry were raised.

It was a tampon that led Lauren Wasser’s body to absorb the chemicals and toxines the product contains such as chlorine, bleach or rayon. Back in October 2012, Lauren felt slightly feverish and went to bed in order to feel better. 8 days later she woke up from a coma, her left leg was partially amputated. Finding her way back to life was a rocky path: She was battling depression and lost her sense of self – Wasser has proven that she is a fighter of the remarkable kind. Since then she has publically spoken out about Toxic Shock Syndrome and raised awareness all over the world. Even losing her second leg due to the ripple effects of the initial infection she decided to look at the bright side of life and got literally shiny new features: artificial legs in gold.

Interview caught up with Lauren Wasser and talked with her about her action plan for activism, being spiritual and her stance towards the fashion industry since the incident in 2012.

 

Julia Deutsch Hi Lauren, a fighter like you; do you have a mantra that helps you in your day to day life?
Lauren Wasser I wake up every day just thankful for my life and thanking God for my life, and all of the amazing things I am able to do and see. Hopefully I’m also inspiring someone to not give up.
JD I am sure you have a positive impact on a lot of people. How has your attitude towards the fashion industry changed over the years and over the course of events?
LW When this first happened to me, no way in hell did I think nor feel like I would ever be accepted to get back into the modeling world. But to my amazement the modeling world and the whole world has given me so much love and support. The modeling industry is changing all the time. Inclusion and diversity is what makes fashion fun. It’s allowing a whole new element, which shows a new side of beauty and acceptance like never before. I love breaking barriers, stereotypes, and breaking out of the box society tries to put me into. I’m able and capable of anything as anyone else. I just do it with gold legs.


JD You mentioned that your Toxic Shock Syndrom and the following amputations stripped off your identity. How did you re-invent yourself? How did you find your identity again?
LW Well after waking up from the coma, being pumped up to 200lbs with liquids, and having my head shaved… Then sent home without a right leg and a left foot that remained questionable and basically stuck in a wheelchair, I would never in a million years think I would be in the position I am today. All I had control over were my thoughts. I fell in a deep depression, even contemplated suicide but something in my heart just made me dig deeper. Something in me wouldn’t allow that to be my destiny. Realizing I needed the prosthetic to be able to move, walk, and be free of the wheelchair I started to slowly see it as an asset. I thought how can I make this fake peg leg mine? So I loved gold and loved ASAP Rocky and thought why not rock a gold leg than gold teeth. Then I started to see pictures and videos of myself and my movements, and I began to see myself in a different light. I saw strength and I knew that it didn’t define me. Beauty isn’t just on the outside – the real beauty comes from your heart and everything that you may have gone through has only made you more beautiful and stronger than ever before. I can honestly say I feel complete with this new me and these new gold legs ❤️

 

“I can honestly say I feel complete with this new me and these new gold legs”

JD Can you think of a life advice that really stuck with you?
LW Trusting your gut instinct. Wow, I can’t even stress that enough! Trusting yourself and what feels or doesn’t feel right. Your gut will lead you in the right direction. That’s a fact!
JD So would you say that you are a spiritual person? What does spirituality mean to you?
LW I am very spiritual. I am so grateful to be alive and to have had a 1% chance of surviving to now flourishing can only be the work of God. Trusting the process and letting God lead the way. I’m only the messenger.

 

JD Do you have an action plan in making menstruation safer for women? What are your action steps?
LW I do have a plan. It’s in the works. But for right now it’s about continuing the dialogue amongst woman and girls about the dangers of tampons, and what actually goes into women hygiene products. Education is key. We shouldn’t be placing something so toxic in the most absorbent part of our bodies at the most sensitive time. Look on the back of a tampon box and it will list chlorine, bleach, rayon, all of these synthetic fibers that are extremely harmful to us. We have the technology to make safe products but it’s a billion dollar industry. Absorbency is another huge thing that is a big factor. The more absorbent, the more toxic. You never see a tampon commercial with a warning that the product can harm you, or you can even lose limbs, or worse even lose your life! We as woman need to demand safe products. Especially since young girls are getting their periods younger and younger. This has been harming and killing women for over 30 years… if this was a men’s issue it would have been fixed yesterday. Be more aware of what you’re putting inside of your body. We need to demand more information about what exactly is going in them and what the long term effects are by using this product for however long. That simple information has been rejected by Congress here in America 10 times – it is called the Robin Danielson Act. We make babies, we create life, and we deserve to have a healthy choice for our bodies and our future.

 

“if this was a men’s issue it would have been fixed yesterday.”

 

Interview JULIA DEUTSCH
Photography DENIZ ALACA
Styling MOSES MORENO
Hair MIA SANTIAGO
Make Up RUTH FERNANDEZ