by Biba Adams
Vanity Wonder had second thoughts about writing her book, Shot Girls. Several of her friends, including her “big homie,” rapper Maino advised her against it. Telling the truth about her butt injections would be career suicide but, the former dancer and video model went with her heart and wrote the book in hopes that other young women will stop adding to the urban phenomenon of illegal buttock injections.
Just weeks ago, a Philadelphia woman, Padge Windslowe, was arrested on charges that include aggravated assault, practicing medicine without a license, and theft by deception, Windslowe allegedly regularly performed illegal butt injections on women in various homes and hotel rooms. Police also believe that Windslowe performed an injection on a London tourist who later died.
A Los Angeles woman lost parts of all four of her limbs, including both hands, after getting an infection in a hospital where she was being treated for complications from butt injections. She refused to disclose who administered her injections at a “pumping party.” While many of the consumers of illegal butt injections are exotic dancers and models, according to Vanity Wonder, many of the women getting the procedure are “regular” women often using tax refunds to get the enhancement.
Butt injections are not a new phenomenon, and the procedure is perfectly legal when administered by a cosmetic surgeon. For several thousand dollars, a plastic surgeon can perform a “Brazilian Butt Lift and Injection,” where they remove fat from another area of the body and implant it into the buttocks creating a “curvier” bottom. A silicone implant, similar to one for the breasts, can also be inserted in the butt for enhancement. No other form of butt enhancement is approved by the FDA, and yet, young women keep walking into strange hotel rooms and paying $1,000 or more to be injected with what they are told is silicone.
As the rear ends of video models get bigger and bigger, young women attempting to emulate what they see on television take risks with their lives and health to get bigger backsides. Vanity Wonder, who has had over a dozen butt injection procedures, also worked for a “Shot Lady,” a person who performs the shots. Her measurements, an astounding 34-23-45 speak to the choices that she made for her version of beauty. Shot Girls, which is dedicated in part to rapper Drake, was recently released independently and is raising awareness of what is becoming a deadly threat to Black women.
AllHipHop.com spoke to the new author about her controversial book, and the truth about Hip-Hop’s big booty obsession:
AllHipHop.com: Vanity, the booty has always been important in Black culture, but it seems like lately it is even more dominant in urban media. Would you agree?
Vanity Wonder: Well, yeah, it’s competition. We are a competitive society. Look at TV. We even have all these reality competition shows. People putting they six-year-old on TV for competition, when back in the day, nobody would ever think of putting a child that young in front of a camera. But everybody wants to do it better. They want to do it younger. They want to do it faster. So it’s not just urban media that is encouraging this issue. It’s media period. It’s ourselves. It’s not just media; it’s ourselves that’s fueling this. As far as butts go, yes, urban society is fueling that part of it, but that part just comes from our hunger to be better. That competition you know?
AllHipHop.com: Mmm hmm.
Vanity Wonder: But yeah, it definitely has blown up, but that’s just girls competing with each other. They want a bigger butt. They want a better butt. They wanna buy their butt. They want a jigglier butt. That’s just girl’s nature.
AllHipHop.com: I think what I’m trying to understand is how did it get this way?
Vanity Wonder: Competition. It got this way because women as a whole feel – and this is not you personally, it’s not me personally – women as a whole feel a little bit neglected. Especially minority women. They feel a little neglected. They feel a little pushed under the radar. They feel there are not enough men, our men are in prisons, our men are gay, they’re on the down low, so the pool of men that we have to choose from is small.
Black girls, Puerto Rican girls, brown girls, period. The pools of men that we have to pick from are small. So it’s like you gotta do whatchu gotta do to get their attention. And that is why it’s blowing up and becoming crazy. In my book, you see gospel singers were calling me, old ladies were calling me, everybody was calling me to get these shots. It’s not just 20-something-year-old strippers. It’s your nurse. It’s the first lady in the pulpit. It’s everybody.
AllHipHop.com: Wow. That’s deep.
Vanity Wonder: Yes, it is deep, because our feelings and how we feel neglected is deeper than shots. It has to do with image, you know, how you see yourself in the mirror. For everybody, it’s different. For everybody, it’s different, but universally it’s how you see yourself in the mirror [is] why you were going in to get enhancements. Not just butt shots. But especially butt shots because it’s so risky.
AllHipHop.com: I know that you have had injections done about 16 times. You said that saying you have had shots is taboo.. Is it becoming something that women are more proud of saying? Should they be?
Vanity Wonder: Look, I take full responsibility for everything I did and any ramification that comes because of it, but I wouldn’t say that I’m out here proud and leading marches for shots. But I will say that I am not suicidal, and I’m not mad at myself. I did what I did, and I take full responsibility for what I did.
Do I want other young girls out here going to go do it? No. Because it is dangerous, and that is my one thing. When you go and do certain things, it’ll take a lot to kill you. Like if you drinking alcohol, it’ll take a lot to kill you. You doing crack, you doing cocaine, it’ll take a lot to kill you. It only takes one time for butt shots to kill you. Nobody knows. A lot of these girls, especially the girl that came from the UK, she came and got shots ONE TIME, and she died.
So that’s MY biggest thing. Do you understand? Just know that you could, you might be able to walk in the hotel, but you might not walk out. Just know that. You know what I’m saying? That’s my thing, and a lot of girls that get shots are mad at me for saying this. But, in my defense, it is the truth. Why don’t we wanna tell the truth? You don’t want nobody to know that you got a fake butt. That’s fine. But even more you don’t want nobody to know how stupid you were to go get it, because it could have cost you your life.
AllHipHop.com: Can you look at someone, and you go, “Oh yeah, she got ‘em”?
Vanity Wonder: Yep. Yes. Yeah.
AllHipHop.com: Are there a lot of video models who’ve had ‘em done in your opinion?
Vanity Wonder: Yea. Imma say video models are prolly the top consumer. And it’s funny because models and video chicks, there is a double standard. If you’re light skinned, you can have as any butt shots as you want. You can be in as many magazines, on the covers as you want. They’re gonna put you in as many videos as you want, but if you’re dark skinned and have just as many butt shots…’cause it’s light skin video models with just as many butt shots as me, and I’m ostracized way more.
AllHipHop.com: So what are you doing now? Are you just promoting the book? Are you still modeling? Dancing?
Vanity Wonder: I haven’t modeled in like a year and a half. I didn’t even model for that long. It wasn’t for me just because of all the politics that go into modeling. Like I said the light skinned/dark skinned thing. The being cool with people thing. I couldn’t do it. I’m just way too real for that, and I felt like I had too much to offer for that.
A lot of these video models out here they’re goal is to get a rich dude, get one of these rappers, and you ain’t even gotta marry them just give them a baby, ’cause they know they gon’ get the check. And I just felt that I was way too special for that. As far as dancing, I stopped dancing in October. It was like the end of October, and I had to put everything into this book. I couldn’t focus on anything else, just because I needed to be comfortable with everything that I needed to talk about, and it was important to tell the truth. To me it was very important.
The integrity of my legacy and the integrity of this book is to tell the truth, because even when I’m dead and gone this book is still gonna be here. And it was just really important for me not to glorify; it was just important me for to tell the 100 percent truth.
WARNING: Silicone butt injections are dangerous and illegal. If you are seeking cosmetic enhancement, consult a plastic surgeon.
Vanity Wonder’s autobiographical book, Shot Girls, is available through online retailers and through her website, www.shotgirlsbook.com. Follow her on Twitter (@VanityWonder).
Biba Adams is a Senior Staff Writer and Book Editor for AllHipHop.com. Follow her on Twitter (@BibatheDiva).