After battling breast cancer, Jael Strauss passed away at the age of 34 on Dec. 4. In honor of her life, here are five things you should know about the woman who once competed on ‘America’s Next Top Model.’
Rest in peace, Jael Strauss. The former contestant on America’s Next Top Model died in a hospice on Dec. 4, just two months after announcing she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. The reality television star, who was 34 years old, has accomplished a lot since she first graced the small screen in 2007! We broke down the highlights of Jael’s life.
1. Jael competed on Season 8 of ANTM. The Detroit native finished in sixth place on Tyra Banks’ show. Jael’s close friend died of an overdose mid-competition, and while she suffered the heartbreaking loss, she decided to remain on the show.
2. She was five years sober. Jael celebrated her five-year sobriety in an Instagram post on Aug. 16, after first kicking her addiction in 2013. She abused methamphetamine and had an intervention on a 2012 episode of Dr. Phil, which her family arranged. “Recovery is possible for everyone no matter how far gone you think you are, We are never too broken to be put back together,” Jael wrote in her sobriety post. “Service work feels better than the greatest high, Sobriety makes you weirder not normal.😊”
3. Jael’s job worked to end youth homelessness. She eventually moved to Austin, Texas where she held a job at LifeWorks Austin, an organization that “provides a pathway to self-sufficiency for more than 4,000 youth and families,” according to its page. Jael shared an update about her social work in September, just weeks before she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “A literal #vortexofhope at my job. This is the place I prefer to rejuvenate and strategize helping to reach Lifeworks’s goal of #endingyouthhomelessness by 2020,” she wrote in an Instagram post on Sept. 6. “I can’t believe I work in such a bubble of love. Wait, yes I can cuz the world is magickal!”
4. She once worked at a rehab center. Jael revealed that she also held a job at a rehab center in Austin, Texas in a 2016 interview with TooFab. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life,” the small screen star told the outlet, who was then celebrating being three years sober. “This journey was very unexpected.”
5. Jael identified as queer. She had opened up about her sexuality and related to her ANTM co-star Renee Alway, who she revealed was the first person to call her after finishing her addiction treatment. “We’re both lesbians, we were both closeted and we both had drug problems,” Jael told TooFab.