She was 24 when it happened. Affected by toxic shock syndrome, a life-threatening condition, Lauren Wasser – whose parents were fashion models – lost her right leg and the toes of her left foot. Her condition was caused by using a tampon which released the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, or staph.

Now 30, Wasser has had to have both her legs amputated. But that hasn’t stopped her from modelling, where has emerged stronger than ever, participating in some of the most talked-about shows, and posing for top fashion photographers.

Naturally, it wasn’t easy initially. After the surgeries, Wasser used shapeless clothing at first, but went on to experiment with her style – which involves a pair of prosthetic legs gleaming gold in colour – and found new ways to engage with the world of fashion. Now, she feels ready to embrace the runway, starting with this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Wasser is also an activist for TSS prevention, campaigning tirelessly to ensure that menstruation products disclose all their constituents. Watch her story in the video made by Vogue (above).