'ANTM' Alum Jael Strauss Fought Both Addiction and Breast Cancer

Allison Cacich - Author

Sep. 8 2020, Updated 4:38 p.m. ET

what happened to jael from antm
Source: Getty Images

It’s been a drama-filled summer for America’s Next Top Model despite the fact that the reality competition hasn’t aired a new episode since 2018. Past challenges from the series’ 24 seasons are making the rounds online, including a handful that social media users have deemed insensitive and/or offensive.

One such photo shoot took place during the show’s eighth cycle and required the girls to pose as "crime scene victims." Producers forced contestant Jael Strauss to participate even after learning that her friend had recently died from a drug overdose. In a cruel twist of fate, the Detroit native would also pass at a young age.

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What happened to Jael from 'ANTM'?

The former reality star died at the age of 34 on Dec. 4, 2018 following a short battle with stage 4 breast cancer. At the time of her death, Jael’s Instagram bio read, "Plz send miracles."

The model, who placed sixth on her season of ANTM, found out about her diagnosis just two months before she passed. "I exist closer to death than I have ever been, and I am scared," she wrote on Oct. 10, 2018. "I really need your help — donations, kind words of support, and prayers are completely welcome and absolutely needed."

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jael strauss cancer
Source: Instagram

Jael’s death was announced on a GoFundMe page that had been set up to help pay for her medical expenses. "Today we lost our earth angel and she is back in the spirit world from which she came and we know she will be watching over all of us," a post on the website reads. 

"She will dance at how we celebrate her life by spreading the love that she lived by daily with a reckless abandon. We can honor her best by trying to #lovelikejael," the message continues, noting that part of the $20,651 raised went towards her funeral arrangements.

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ANTM creator and host Tyra Banks also paid tribute to the memorable cast member, tweeting, "Top Model has lost a beautiful soul. We will all remember Jael and her fun-loving spirit and beautiful soul."

Jael previously battled a methamphetamine addiction.

Less than two months before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Jael celebrated five years of sobriety. Her journey to getting clean started with an intervention on Dr. Phil in December 2012.

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jael strauss dr phil
Source: Dr. Phil

"I know a few things to be true: Miracles are real, recovery is possible for everyone no matter how far gone you think you are, we are never too broken to be put back together… and I’d be dead if it weren’t for all the love and forgiveness I’ve been showered with by my friends and family," Jael wrote on Instagram in August 2018.

"Thank you to anyone that’s ever let me sponsor them. Thank you to my partner Cody Bear for showing me what real love is like. Thank you to all my beautiful family (blood and extended). Because of this gift I have no friends, only family," she added.

Shortly before she succumbed to her illness, Jael got super candid on Facebook. "I don’t want to die," she admitted. "I need another one of those miracles that I got back in 2013."

Jael may not have gotten her wish, but she certainly made a positive mark on this world.

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