Injured model Lauren Scruggs gives first interview, ‘I’ve gained a new perspective’

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We’ve heard a lot in the celebrity press about the horrific accident and tough recovery that model Lauren Scruggs, 24, endured after walking into a spinning airplane propeller in the dark. Lauren lost her left eye and left hand in that accident last December, and it sounded like it was touch and go for her for a while. She’s since recovered and has been fitted with a prosthetic eye and hand. It sounds like the love and support of friends and family, along with her faith, helped pull her through. In an appearance on The Today Show yesterday, Lauren said that she’s off all pain medication and is doing well just eight months later! Her parents weren’t even sure she’d survive after the accident, so this is very good news.

Lauren’s interview is above, and it really touched me. I was impressed by how well she was able to speak about everything she must have gone through. She has a new book coming out chronicling her journey, which she’s promoting. Spoiler: Lauren says that gymnast Gabby Douglas is her inspiration, and Gabby comes out during the interview! Here’s more:

Lauren Scruggs, looking sunny and admitting to being happy to be off her pain medicines since January, is “learning to live by faith and not by sight,” she said in her first TV interview Thursday.

Positive attitude aside, she did admit to having some “difficult days” emotionally, “accepting the loss of my eye and hand.”

“It’s good to be out in public,” the fashion blogger and model, 24, told Savannah Guthrie on Thursday’s Today show, “letting people know I’m OK.”

Of her accident, in which she walked into a spinning airplane propeller while climbing out of a two-seater plane at a private airport in McKinney, Texas, last Dec. 3, “I remember my feet touching the ground, getting out of the plane,” she said. “That’s all I remember.”

The interview took place in London’s Olympic Village, where Scruggs said she was taking strength from the Games and the perseverance of the athletes. Asked to single out a particular Olympian, Scurggs mentioned all-around gold-medal gymnast Gabby Douglas – who suddenly appeared on camera to give a surprised Scruggs a hug.

“This means so much to me,” Douglas, 16, said of Scruggs’s comments. (Scruggs had just said of Gabby: “Her style is so sweet.)

“Keep staying strong,” Douglas told her. “Keep smiling,”

Scruggs lost her left hand and suffered severe facial injuries that also caused the loss of her left eye in the accident, and was subsequently fitted with prosthetics.

But as she said Thursday, and will expand upon in her upcoming book Still Lolo (Lolo is her nickname), “The Lord has a strong purpose in it.”

Personally, she said ,”I’ve gained a new perspective on life.”

[From People]

Best wishes to Lauren and her family. I’m so glad that this story has a happy ending. I have to say that this interview needed Ann Curry though. (I don’t know when I became such an Ann advocate.)

Here’s Lauren with her family in London [via Twitter]

With her sister and Gabby Douglas.

With her sister and Sean Johnson

With her dad

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42 Responses to “Injured model Lauren Scruggs gives first interview, ‘I’ve gained a new perspective’”

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  1. Gina says:

    She is darling! I am impressed by her strength, I hope she has an amazingly happy life.

    • Genevieve says:

      @ CB…thank you SO much for posting this!

      @ Gina…she is…you have no idea 🙂

      She is PRECIOUS. I was so happy to see this posted when I woke up!

      I know Lauren (Lolo) and her parents, Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs. Lolo worked for one of my charities here in Dallas, “Dress for Success”. She came in with her mother during a clothing drop-off, and wound up in one of our fashion shows that we frequently have to promote public awareness and clothing drives. The graduates of the of Dress for Success program come from all walks of life…..the long-term unemployed, battered women’s shelters, detention centers. We teach them interview skills and provide them with the professional clothes and accessories for interviews and well through employment.

      Lauren volunteered her time, it was not run through her agency. She and her family are the kindest, most caring folks you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. They clearly instilled all the right core values in their daughter, she is a LOVE.

      SO glad to see a post where SURELY there could be no haters! 🙂

  2. Snoop says:

    Can’t believe it was barely 8/9 months ago, and physically she looks amazing! she’s a lucky girl to be alive! I wish her all the best, she’s got a ways to go mentally I expect, what a shocking accident 🙁

    • Aussie girl says:

      I too can’t believe how good she looks. What a strong girl & what a horrific thing to go through. All the best xo

  3. teehee says:

    Wow you can barely tell 🙂

  4. megs283 says:

    OMG. What a feel-good story. Gabby rocks!!

  5. beyonce's bump says:

    That was a great read start to my morning! Inspirational story for sure.

  6. Latoya says:

    I haven’t heard of this before- how did she manage to walk into an airplane propeller in the dark? How could that even happen? Shouldn’t there be safety peeps monitoring that?

    (No disrespect to how far she’s come and what she’s gone through.)

    • EllaDee says:

      I’m wondering the same…

    • Katyusha says:

      You would think, but I thought I remembered reading it was a private plane – so there was no one there monitoring.

      Apparently, when she stepped off the plane, she went in the wrong direction. How she didn’t realize that the propeller was to the wrong side, I’m not sure.

      • lush33 says:

        I remember hearing that the pilot ran to go help someone with something and left it unattended. Apparently the blades spin so fast that you can see them, so it was just an accident and a lack of paying attention on several levels. How great to see she has made such a wonderful and fast recovery 🙂

    • Breezie says:

      The pilot left the propeller on because he was picking up another passenger. He noticed she was going near the propeller and he put his arm out to stop her and told her to walk behind the plane.

      It’s terrible what happened to her, but she didn’t follow directions.

  7. brin says:

    Glad to see she is doing so well, I wish her all the best. Stay strong, Lauren!

  8. Dhavy says:

    She’s an inspiration. It’s amazing how well people recover when you have loving people with positive attitude surrounding you.

  9. INeedANap says:

    I don’t understand how you walk into a spinning propeller blade in the dark. She didn’t hear anything? Why was she in a hangar/air strip in total darkness? What the heck happened? I’m glad she recovered, but this seems like a shoo-in for a Darwin Award.

    • Shaz says:

      Just because you can’t understand it, doesn’t mean there isn’t a logical explanation. What a nasty thing to say about someone who has suffered as much as she has and still has a positive attitude. You should be ashamed.

      • Kevin says:

        That is why they are called “accidents”. I read about this when it happened and thought about how horrific that must have been. I’m super glad for this woman and her family that it has worked out a well as it has. She’s still a beautiful young lady.

    • ama says:

      I am also at a loss for how this woman is inspirational. She walked into a propeller, she didn’t beat cancer.

      It’s nice that she’s recovering and positive about it, but the only thing she’s truly inspirational for is not walking into a propeller.

      • gee says:

        Overcoming a horrific accident with grace is so not inspirational at all.

      • yoyobaby says:

        Because attitude is everything. She was on death’s door in critical condition ICU. From what I have witness of her generation – most are inarticulate, entitled, unfocused, borderline lazy- do what makes you feel good, and dressed like poor man Kardashian’s dresses cut up to their butt.

        Classy, a fighter, full of faith, articulate. I will take that any day

      • fUNk says:

        Am I a horrible person for lolling?

      • ama says:

        She made a mistake, it’s not like she was born with a horrible disease that she “overcame”. Thousands of people every day exit small airplanes at night with no issue.

        She sued both the pilot and the airport. She took no responsibility for her error and made someone else pay for it. There is nothing inspirational, classy or graceful about that.

      • Genevieve says:

        WOW…I’m at a loss, too .

        And here I thought there could SURELY be no haters on this post. She lost an eye and a hand and sustained severe brain injury.

        Sorry if that isn’t inspirational enough for you 🙁

    • Ann Emmess says:

      I will never understand victim blamers and shamers, but I know it’s part of human nature. Similarly, I can imagine a few other aspects of human nature that could have been involved:

      Drowning victims are so stupid that they often swim down instead of up — what were they thinking, right? I can’t imagine that “disorientation” plays any role.

      I don’t know how loud a spinning prop is, but when I walk right past a jackhammer, feeling the sound drive straight through my body at tumor-causing decibels, I can’t tell which way the noise is coming from — total dummy, I know! In a large plane you spend the entire flight with those jackhammer decibels plowing through you, even if your ears don’t perceive them. Are small planes whisper-quiet, or less-insulated?

      I’ve seen silent-running fans that could take off my finger, but when I poke it in to check, there’s usually some wire cage that stops me. Do prop planes have something like that?

      I can imagine that if the wind from the prop were as straightforward as a fan, she wouldn’t have plowed into it. I don’t know if a plane is the sort of strange-shaped object that might distort those currents. Maybe Lauren skipped out on the Coriolis Effect in physics? Duh! More fool her!

      My grandpa’s thumb was ripped off by a corn harvester. Little kids lost hands, eyes, lives to cotton gins and newspaper presses. People die in car crashes every day. Is there ever a time when that counts as an unfortunate accident, bad design, unsafe practices — or were they all just hurt by their own stupidity? Can you pinpoint the stupid behavior that shows they each deserved a Darwin Award just like Lauren’s?

    • Hubbahun says:

      Yes, INeedANap, you do need a nap. Perhaps you’ll wake up a better person.

      Much love to Lauren and her family xxx

  10. Shaz says:

    What a beautiful, inspiring woman!

  11. Bailey says:

    Wow…she has a beautiful family.

  12. lucy2 says:

    I remember when this happened, and there was a lot of talk that a pilot is supposed to shut everything down so nothing is moving when the passenger gets out. Don’t know if that’s true, if anyone with aviation experience knows, I’d be curious. It certainly was a strange, freak accident though.

    She seems to be doing very well, that’s wonderful, and she looks great. That was sweet of Gabby to go meet her like that too.

    • mela says:

      I’m around small turbine planes every weekend skydiving and our pilots often don’t turn off the engine and leave it running “hot” so we can hop on real quick after he lands and get up to altitude without shutting down because once you shut the plane down, you gotta wait awhile to start it up again. But, no one ever lands with the plane in the skydive world so I only can speak to getting ON the plane, not landing with it ;). Prop’s turn so fast they can be hard to see. I was taught early in my skydive careers to enter from the rear of our planes, never walk around the prop of the plane ever. That’s basic airplane safety 101. Planes can overwhelm your senses at first, they’re noisy and unfamilar,and the prop spinning can be hard to see but you will hear the engine and feel WIND and DUST kicking up in your face when the prop is going but I heard she was intoxicated, so I’m sure that didn’t help. I’m glad she’s ok. Planes are not kids play you must be aware of your surroundings and be on your game, which she clearly was not. horriffic accident for her AND the pilot.

      • Doh says:


        Yep. That would do it. How come this is not better known? Airplane safety 100 (stead of 101):


  13. Scarlet Vixen says:

    I just asked my husband about it because I was curious, too–he’s a former airline and private jet company pilot who still works in the aviation field. He said from what he recalls the area was properly roped off and the pilot (a family friend taking her out on a joy ride to look at Christmas lights) had the engine on idle. The props should be off, but they aren’t legally required to be as long as a safety area is clearly roped off. The insurance company found the pilot to not be at any fault for the accident.

    My husband also thought he remembered hearing that her hat had blown off and she went to retrieve it and that’s how she walked into the prop, but he couldn’t remember for sure.

    • TTT says:

      If the insurance company found the pilot was not at fault, how were they able to sue for all the money they got?

      • Scarlet Vixen says:

        They settled for 200k (which doesn’t seem like alot to me considering her injuries), but not because of any negligence by the pilot.

      • TTT says:

        WRONG. They rejected the 200K settlement offer, and got over one million instead. I am just curious how they were able to get so much $$, if it was not the pilot’s fault.

  14. Dragonlady sakura says:

    She looks great and her positive attitude is inspirational. I’d hope I would be that strong.

  15. Ella says:

    She’s still an absolute bombshell.

  16. TXCinderella says:

    Since she was in a career field that was all about how you look, I’m sure that she does have a new outlook. We all know looks don’t last, and in the end it’s about the kind of person you are inside, and how you treat others that really counts. Sometimes we lose our perspective on that. So glad that she is recovering both physically and mentally from this horrible accident.

  17. erika says:

    can i just leave this story with this post? cuz’ finding myself in a wheelchair at age 38, well, I think I can say (and I just got off pain killers TOO!)

    look at it like this…you just can’t ‘gauge’ how some accidents are worse than others, yet not so serious than others…

    if something bad happens to you, believe me, there’s ALWAYS somebody else in the Universe who has it one notch WORST below you.

    So why compare? i give this woman credit for recovering, for loving those family/friends who loved her back and having the courage to walk right out the door and SMILE.

    when your spirit has been handed a disability, illness, violent crime, WHATEVER…it takes a HELL of a lot of courage to just smile.

    so amen lauren

  18. janet says:

    Great to see her doing well but how does one walk into the propeller of a helicopter?