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A Remarkable Resilience

A Remarkable Resilience

Lauren Wasser, a model turned activist, has navigated formidable challenges to emerge as an influential voice in the fashion realm. Despite losing both legs to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) due to a tampon in 2012, she has transcended her circumstances to champion awareness of TSS and advocate for more stringent regulations on menstrual products, prioritizing women’s health and safety.

Raised in a Californian family deeply rooted in modeling, Lauren was destined for the fashion world. Her debut in Vogue at the tender age of 4 months, alongside her mother, hinted at her early connection to modeling.

Before her life dramatically shifted, Lauren thrived as a basketball player, securing a coveted athletic scholarship. Opting to focus on modeling while maintaining an active lifestyle, she was unaware of the drastic change awaiting her.

At 24, Lauren experienced a catastrophic health crisis that resulted in the loss of both legs. She shared this profound life shift on The Diary of a CEO podcast, revealing, “I lost both of my legs because of a tampon.”

Toxic Shock Syndrome, a rare but severe condition caused by the overgrowth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, produces a deadly toxin that can enter the bloodstream. Identified in the late 1970s, TSS became more recognized in the 1980s, impacting about 6 in 100,000 people.

Lauren’s ordeal began with flu-like symptoms, escalating to renal failure and two heart attacks. With survival chances slim, she was placed in a medically induced coma.


Awakening from a coma that lasted over a week, Lauren was confronted with the agonizing reality of gangrene in her feet. This led to the amputation of her right leg, followed by her left in 2018.

Now, Lauren is a prominent advocate for TSS awareness and the safety of menstrual products. Alongside Madeline Mosby, whose daughter succumbed to TSS, Lauren campaigns against harmful tampon ingredients like chlorine bleach and synthetic fibers, striving for impactful changes.


Despite her trials, Lauren has triumphantly returned to modeling, earning the moniker “the girl with the golden legs.” She chose distinctive gold-toned prosthetics, symbolizing her unique path and embracing her physical transformation.

“My entire career is about affirming that you are enough, celebrating your beauty as you are, and embracing your scars and the aspects of yourself you may dislike,” Lauren asserts.

Lauren continues to influence the fashion industry, advocating for inclusivity while dealing with ongoing pain that led to further amputation. Her modeling career flourishes, featuring in campaigns for high-profile brands such as Gabriela Hearst, Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, Furla, and Shiseido, and she remains committed to basketball and marathon training.

Additionally, Lauren’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion for people with disabilities in fashion are noteworthy.

Her significant contributions have secured her a spot on Harper’s Bazaar’s 2022 Women of the Year special edition covers, standing proudly among other inspiring figures.


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