In an industry where looking good and being bodily perfect is a strict norm, fashion-model Lauren Wasser walks tall amongst her colleagues – she wears a prosthetic leg. Lauren is the new face of empowerment. Last week, this 28-year-old made her runway debut at New York City Fashion Week sporting her prosthetic leg.
Lauren’s road to the runway was an emotional one. It includes a four-year detour sparked by the loss of her right leg to toxic shock syndrome. At 24, Lauren, a tall, blonde and blue-eyed beauty was living a charmed life – riding 30 miles on her bike by day and rubbing shoulders with Los Angeles’ elite by night. According to a profile in Vice, she had given up a full-ride basketball scholarship at a Division I school to pursue modelling, a career that began when she appeared next to her model mother when she was 2 years old in Italian Vogue.
It was during the autumn of 2012 when everything changed. Lauren was feeling sick. She experienced flu-like symptoms and was struggling to stand upright. Aside from a few spotty moments, Lauren awoke from a several-day slumber in the hospital on the verge of death. Her organs were failing. “They were telling [my mom] and my godfather to prepare for my funeral,” said Lauren. Due to complications, she had to have her right leg below her knee amputated.
“I literally was laying there, thinking my life was over. That I would never be accepted again, I could never model again. No one would look at me the same,” recounted Lauren. After the amputation, Lauren was in pain and contemplating suicide. But through support from her family and girlfriend, photographer Jennifer Rovero, who took hundreds of pictures of Lauren during her recovery, she slowly regained control of her life.
“I’m more beautiful than I’ve ever been because I’ve experienced so many things, and I can relate to so many different people. And you know, it’s just made me a better person,” stated Lauren, in a report in The Huffington Post.