Lauren Wasser, recognized as both a model and activist, has triumphed over formidable challenges to become a prominent figure in the fashion industry. Despite the loss of both her legs to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) triggered by a tampon in 2012, she steadfastly rejected allowing this tragedy to define her.

Today, she utilizes her platform to shine a spotlight on the hazards of TSS and advocates for enhanced regulation of menstrual products, advocating fiercely for women’s health and safety.

Growing up in California surrounded by a family deeply rooted in the modeling industry, Lauren Wasser was seemingly destined for a career in fashion.

With both her parents deeply involved in the field, it was only natural for her to follow in their footsteps. Her debut in Vogue alongside her mother at a mere 4 months old served as an early indication of her inherent bond with the fashion world.

Before her life took a dramatic turn, Lauren Wasser excelled as a basketball player, earning a coveted athletic scholarship. Despite her achievements in sports, she chose to pursue a modeling career while continuing to embrace her active lifestyle. Little did she know, her life was on the verge of a profound upheaval.

At the age of 24, Lauren Wasser experienced a transformative event that led to the loss of both her legs. Reflecting on her journey in an episode of The Diary of a CEO podcast, she revealed, “I lost both of my legs because of a tampon.”

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare condition caused by the excessive growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, leading to the secretion of a harmful toxin into the bloodstream. Its prevalence rose sharply in the late 1970s following severe illnesses in multiple young women. By the 1980s, around 6 out of every 100,000 people were affected by this syndrome.

Lauren Wasser’s encounter with TSS started with symptoms resembling the flu, which then escalated to renal failure, coupled with two heart attacks. As her chances of survival grew slimmer, doctors induced a coma to safeguard her life.

Emerging from a ten-day coma, Lauren Wasser faced a harsh reality. With uncertainty clouding her mind, she discovered her feet engulfed in flames and gangrene taking hold. Eventually, she confronted the agonizing decision to undergo the amputation of her right leg. Then, in 2018, she underwent another amputation, this time of her left leg.

Since then, Lauren Wasser has become a fervent advocate, committed to raising awareness about Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and campaigning for safer menstrual products. She sheds light on the harmful components found in tampons, such as chlorine bleach, dioxin, and synthetic fibers, which can pose serious health risks. Collaborating with Madeline Mosby, a mother who tragically lost her daughter to TSS, they endeavor to make a collective impact on the world.

Despite facing significant hurdles, Lauren Wasser made a remarkable comeback to the modeling world. Earning the moniker “the girl with the golden legs,” she became a symbol of beauty and resilience. Embracing her changed circumstances, she chose prosthetics with a golden hue, signifying her acceptance and commemorating her unique journey.