The Model Who Lost Her Leg Because of a Tampon Just Made an Inspiring Comeback

December 26th 2015

Laura Donovan

Earlier this year, Vice published an extensive piece on 28-year-old model Lauren Wasser. Wasser sued Kotex after she contracted Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) while using one of the brand's tampons and ultimately had to have one of her legs amputated as a result. Vice recently noted that Wasser's experience made for one of the publication's biggest stories of the year, and though it was hard to lose a limb three years ago, Wasser has demonstrated immense resilience by returning to the modeling scene.

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Wasser, who was an aspiring basketball player before she had her leg removed, used her Instagram account to share some ads she appeared in for Nordstrom's holiday catalog. In the photos, she is seen wearing Nikes:

"Super stoked to see this out!" she wrote on Instagram. "Huge moment for me & [my girlfriend Jennifer Rovero]...my first real job back in the modeling game. We both cried that day face timing my mom on set in disbelief to have even been chosen for the [Nordstrom] Holiday catalog."

Wasser even recreated Kylie Jenner's infamous Interview magazine wheelchair photoshoot. Jenner was heavily criticized for seemingly using disability as a fashion prop.

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Wasser may be excited to get back into modeling now, but she wasn't always so positive about her circumstances. She told Vice/Broadly in a recent interview that she suffered from major depression after undergoing the leg amputation in 2012.

"I literally was laying there thinking that my life was over," she said. "I would never be accepted again, I could never model again. No one would look at me the same."

Wasser added that her photographer girlfriend Jennifer Rovero took lots of pictures of her as "photo therapy."

"She would just keep shooting me, and shooting me, even in the moments when I didn't want her to shoot me," Wasser said. "I would just mean mug her, and be so angry, but through her showing me those pictures, I saw myself in a whole different light. I think I'm more beautiful now than I've ever been, inside and out."

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Wasser's story in Vice received more than six million page views, but she told Broadly that she thinks TSS gets swept under the rug because periods are a taboo subject. Through her story, she aims to spread more awareness of the long-term effects of tampons, which can lead to TSS. According to the Mayo Clinic, TSS is a "rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections" that often results from toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria.

"Hyperabsorbent tampons may facilitate the infection because their prolonged intra-vaginal use enhances the bacterial growth," according to the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.

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