Teased by her family and friends about her flat "pancake" booty, Apryl Michelle Brown had always been insecure about her backside. Once she got enough money, she told herself, she'd buy herself a better one. "I didn't know if I wanted to look like Janet Jackson or J. Lo," the Los Angeles cosmetologist, 46, says in an exclusive interview featured in the November issue of ESSENCE magazine. "I just wanted a new, bigger booty."
Tragically, her quest for curves cost her all her limbs and almost her life.
In 2004, Brown says she paid a "pumper," an unlicensed person, to inject industrial-grade silicone into her buttocks. Brown can't recall how much the woman actually charged — maybe $500, maybe $1,000 — but over time, she says, the area became intensely irritated and painful, and the skin blackened. By early 2006 she says the silicone had hardened, causing severe pain and infection, ultimately requiring her to have lifesaving amputation of her limbs last year.
Now adjusting to her new life with prosthetics, Brown shares her story — and her warning for others tempted to check out "pumping parties" — with writer Amy Elisa Keith in ESSENCE. "I was left here for a purpose," she says. "I have to get the word out so that nobody else makes this choice."
For more about Apryl Michelle Brown and her story, pick up the November issue of ESSENCE magazine.