Andressa Urach went from being a single teenage mom nicknamed "Beanpole" to a reality TV bombshell in Brazil thanks to silicone implants, anabolic steroids, a nose job, and gel and botox injections, a fact she wasn't ashamed to share with fans. "There are plenty of ugly women," she said last year. "If you have the money, you can be beautiful. This pretty face you see here, my dear, it costs some." More, it turns out, than she bargained for. The 27-year-old Urach, arguably Brazil's most outspoken advocate of cosmetic surgery, recently went into septic shock and was placed on life support after a botched operation to augment her thighs, sparking a debate about the risks Brazilian women will take for beauty as the nation has surpassed the US as the world's plastic surgery capital. It led the runner-up in Brazil's "Miss Bum Bum" contest to express regret "that I put that poison in my body, mostly because of having too much vanity."
Urach appeared on television this week, her wounds still so fresh that blood could be seen soaking through her skirt. Urach told Rede TV that she blamed "society, which unfortunately holds a standard of beauty in which you have to be perfect. I hope that these wounds at least serve as a warning to other women." Since Urach's ordeal, several celebrities have disclosed that similar procedures had sent them to the hospital. In October, a 39-year-old woman died from a pulmonary embolism hours after hydrogel was injected in her buttocks. One of Urach's closest friends said the two used to schedule visits to the plastic surgeon together as if it were "a trip to the mall." "I only heard the good things," says a 31-year-old Rio de Janeiro lawyer recovering from botched surgery on her buttocks. "I did something stupid. I didn't even need this because I looked good. In the end I forgot that the most important thing is to be healthy and happy."