Addiction is an illness that doesn't discriminate. Regardless of the size of your wealth, a drug or alcohol addiction can ruin your life and negatively impact those around you. Just ask America's Next Top Model alum Jael Strauss.
Strauss was one of the contestants on season 8 of the popular show hosted by Tyra Banks. She rose in ranks week after week, but unfortunately she couldn't crack the top 5 and was sent packing towards the end of the season.
While appearing on the show, the Michigan native revealed that she had a tough childhood, and had hoped that winning the show would give her the big break she needed to be successful.
Unfortunately, things didn't go according to plan, and Strauss found herself living out her worst nightmares. She was stuck in a cycle of addiction and eventually ended up on the streets.
Her family even turned to Dr. Phil to help her overcome her meth addiction, but their efforts were futile. They managed to convince to her fly to Los Angeles to appear on the show, but she refused to take part in the intervention.
"First of all, I was interventioned, meaning I did not have a choice," Strauss explained in an interview with Toofab.com. "I do feel that The Dr. Phil Show exploited me and has done that to other people and their addictions."
Strauss was very well aware of the consequences of using drugs (her best friend's father died of an overdose while she was on ANTM), but that didn't stop her. When she appeared on Dr. Phil, she was noticeably thinner, her teeth were damaged and her skin was visibly damaged.
It took some time, but Strauss finally entered rehab and has been drug-free ever since. She shared photos on her Instagram page, revealing how much healthier and happier she is.
The 32-year-old former model now lives in Austin, Texas and has even started a relationship with another America's Next Top Model alum. She has been sober for a few years, and says she's "the happiest I've ever been in my entire life."
The road to recovery wasn't easy, but she persevered and now she is using her experience to help those who have been in her shoes. She no longer seems to be pursuing a career in the fashion indusrty, but according to various reports, she has been working for a rehab center in Austin.
"The number one important thing in my life is to help other people," said Strauss.
"This journey was very unexpected," added Strauss. "I've been sober for 3 years and 3 months now. Not a drink, not a pill, not a joint, not a line, nothing. It's really amazing. It's a huge miracle to still be breathing after what I was up to and I'm so grateful. Whatever path and twists and turns I had to take to get here, I don't regret any of them."
Do you remember watching Strauss on America's Next Top Model?