Anivia Cruz is and has always been a beautiful woman. Unfortunately, Cruz didn’t realize this about herself until it was far too late. The statuesque Cruz started modeling in her late teens but says she always struggled with body dysmorphia. Although she was constantly praised for her facial features, Cruz wanted a curvy body that she believed would attract a different type of attention than her “pretty face.” When she was 25, Cruz took the advice of a friend and decided to get butt injections.
“I’d gained some weight and a friend suggested I get the shots and then be a plus-size model,” Cruz explains.
Cruz took her friend’s advice and soon found herself laying on a couch in a small apartment having what she believed was silicone injected into her backside. Cruz says she paid $300 for the first injection but would pay varying costs over a period of time with nine additional injections. Initially, Cruz admits to loving her new body and loving the attention it received even more.
“If I’m being honest, it was empowering. I had men falling all over me in a totally different way than before,” she says. “I’d never experienced that before so you go through a kind of Cinderella moment.”
It was this feeling of being desirable and sexy that triggered Cruz’s body dysmorphia and drove her back to that apartment to get numerous injections. Eventually, Cruz’s supplier died and although she had no medical training, Cruz started injecting other young women. Some of Cruz’s patients started becoming ill and she found herself in legal trouble for administering illegal black market injections. Her legal troubles seemed bad but they paled in comparison to what was in Cruz’s future. Her own injections started causing pain in her buttocks and then her hips and thighs. Soon, the pain drove her to the doctor and she realized the injections had become poison in her body. Because the injections had been done illegally, most doctors didn’t want to deal with the liability of attempting to fix the damage. Things continued to get worse and at one point Cruz had a hole the size of her fist in her left buttock from the poison rotting her flesh from within.
“The hole literally smelled like a dead mouse,” Cruz says, “people can’t imagine the pain.”
The “Killer Curves” documentary shows graphic photos of Cruz’s backside gone wrong but even more importantly it documents the story of two women who lost their lives due to black market injections. R&B star K. Michelle is a part of the documentary as well, chronicling her personal story as a young wannabe artist who believed the butt injections would make her more appealing and desirable as an artist.
Today, both Michelle and Cruz have gotten their implants removed. Cruz still has additional surgeries to go as she needs more of the damaged tissue removed. In addition to the pain and multiple surgeries, Cruz developed kidney disease. K. Michelle says the documentary offered her an opportunity to speak to young women who may have looked up to her and wanted their bodies to look like hers. Cruz also feels a responsibility to share her story in hopes of helping other young women struggling with the same issues she struggled with prior to getting injections.
“I want to help young women realize they are beautiful as they are,” she says.
Understanding that some young women may be intent on getting the augmentation regardless of what they see from her story and others, Cruz says there is a second part to her platform. “If you are going to get your body done, be safe! Do your research. Make sure you are educated and do it the right way. Cheap isn’t a good sign when it comes to your body,” she says.