Vogue praises amputee model


When model Lauren Wasser lost her leg to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) in 2012, her life, which had been full of modeling and basketball, changed forever. After five years of pain and very little physical activity, she decided to have her second leg amputated, too. When the news outlets first covered her story, it was all about the dangers of TSS and the devastating effects it had on Wasser’s life. 

Today, Vogue published a story on Wasser that couldn’t be more different. The story takes a complete 360-degree turn from the sob stories told in 2017 when Wasser had her second leg amputated. Vogue instead covered Wasser’s recent success in modeling and her mission to prevent TSS from affecting others. 

Vogue’s article title, “How Lauren Wasser, Fashion’s Girl With the Golden Legs, Made a Triumphant Return,” grabs audiences with its upbeat, positive tone, and intrigues readers who may not have otherwise known about Wasser with the word-choice of “Golden Legs,” which isn’t a phrase normally used to describe fashion models. 

The story does a good job of condensing the events of Wasser’s tragic loss of her legs in one sentence, before quickly moving on to the main subject of the story — Wasser’s return to the modeling world. 

Author Janelle Okwodu provides important background information as to Wasser’s childhood, growing up as the child of model Pamela Cook, and how modeling is in Wasser’s blood. Today, Wasser models not only because she enjoys it, but in order to send a message. The other purpose of the article is to describe Wasser’s efforts in advocating a bill that would force brands to list the ingredients in their tampons. 

What seems to be missing from the article are quotes from Wasser, however there is a video which complements the story and follows Wasser on her journey from Los Angeles to New York City for Fashion Week. 

The Vogue story also proves an important point about the changing nature of journalism today. Video content is becoming the emphasis and written stories, such as this one, are playing second fiddle. 

The 300-word story almost acts as background for the main event — the video content, which expertly tells Wasser’s story with scenes in her own bedroom, town and then with the backdrop of New York City where she re-emerges into the fashion world.

Overall, Vogue’s coverage of the story is unique and refreshing in comparison with the multiple other stories written on Wasser which all dance around the tragedy piece. Their use of video content allows the story to appeal to a much wider audience and is more marketable this way on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.