One impersonator who lost nine stones to look like her idol Britney Spears said she was “grateful” for the lockdown, even though it nearly ruined her career – since she had time to find out she had an incurable genetic Disease.
Lauren Faye Moss, 33, of Chesterfield, embodies music legends like Madonna, Lady Gaga and Barbra Streisand and even made headlines at an official after-show party in Britney – but saw her schedule stall when the pandemic broke out.
The forced break allowed her to find out why she felt sick and tired all the time, and in May 2020 she was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, a hereditary condition in which iron slowly builds up in the body.
With regular blood draws, Lauren is now ready to come back on stage as soon as the lock is lifted and she has completed her treatment.
She said, “The pandemic actually did me a favor because I had the free time I needed to manage my health.
“I have a reason for breaking my heart with hemochromatosis because it’s incurable.”
“I’ll live with it for the rest of my life, but I can either be unhappy about it or I can grab it by the horns and deal with it every day.”
Back in August 2018, Lauren was at the top of the world when she headlined Britney’s after-show party in Scarborough, Yorkshire – after overcoming her lifelong weight problems to reach a healthy 10kg height .
Lauren, an overweight child, was diagnosed with a non-slip femoral epiphysis (SCFE), a dislocation in the upper part of the thighbone or femur that resulted in a weakened hip joint by age 11 and stuck both hips.
Her mobility was impaired and she was often in agony – but it didn’t stop her singing, playing, and imitating celebrities.
Then, at the age of 12, she saw Britney play Hit Me Baby One More Time and was dying to look like her.
But Lauren’s weight was still a problem. As a young teenager, she was unable to exercise on crutches and in and out of a wheelchair because of her hips.
While she had physical therapy from the age of 16 and was less able to use the crutches, by the age of 19 she weighed 19 stone 7 pounds and huddled in size 24 clothes for not paying attention to what she was eating.
The 19-year-old has made it on the BBC show for the past 20 years. How do you solve a problem like Maria? – but when she saw how tall she was on TV, she realized that she had to do something about her height.
Determined to become a star and put a screen saver from her hero Britney on her phone for motivation, she battled her height for years – but losing weight became an unhealthy obsession in her early twenties.
Lauren dropped to a tiny six at the age of 28 and began to feel pain again. She was told she needed a full hip replacement.
After counseling, eating and exercising properly, she hit the 10-stone mark and finally had surgery on my right hip at Claremont Hospital in Sheffield at age 28.
Determined to get back on stage despite her hip pain, Lauren reached one of her career highs when she performed as Britney at the after-party two years later.
She recalled, “It was an incredible atmosphere. Britney wasn’t there herself, but at 2:30 a.m. it was one on one. “
“I’ve had people come up to me and say,” You’re better than the real thing! “
But behind closed doors she suffered – and three months later the pain in her left hip became too bad to bear.
And it wasn’t just her hips that worried Lauren.
She recalled, “After Britney, I noticed my hair was falling out. I thought something was wrong with me. “
“I also had extremely heavy periods – it was terrible.”
In January 2019, Lauren had her other hip replaced in Sheffield in a successful operation, but she still felt sick and tired.
Doctors initially thought it was a hormonal imbalance and prescribed steroid injections and hormone therapy for her.
But then the pandemic struck and Lauren had to rely on her savings to survive financially.
In March 2020, stuck at home, she took matters into her own hands and sent her for private blood tests that showed her “iron levels were going through the roof”.
Another genetic test found she had hemochromatosis – common symptoms that, according to the NHS, can include fatigue, weight loss, weakness, joint pain, and irregular periods.
If left untreated, high iron levels can damage parts of the body and lead to potentially serious complications such as liver problems, diabetes, heart failure, and arthritis.
Lauren said in her case that it burdened her with terrible illness, high testosterone levels, and affected her metabolism.
She also had chest pain, she recalled, “It affects your adrenal glands, and I had so much adrenaline in my body that it felt like I was having a heart attack.”
After Lauren received her official diagnosis from NHS doctors last May, she was given a vein incision that removed half a liter of blood every few months to make up for iron levels.
She said, “I’ve had four so far and it takes about half an hour. I’m really trash with needles so the first time was horrible. The needle is so thick and long – but now it has helped me overcome my phobia. “
In addition, their diet had to change. She said, “I can’t eat anything with iron, which means beans are a no-go for me as a vegan.
“I can’t even cook with an iron pan, but it’s a small price to pay.”
Since receiving the treatments, Lauren has felt “stronger” to quote one of her idol’s songs. Your hair is growing thicker and fuller than ever and your energy is almost back to normal.
She threw herself into her singing career during the pandemic and recently signed a publishing deal with her songwriting partner Adam Fiasco.
After previously releasing singles like Home and Sing It, she wrote the upbeat country pop song The Best of Me in response to this difficult time in her life, swapping Britney’s signature blonde locks for a brunette look.
While she plans to build on her own music career as lockdown measures build up, she longs to be on stage.
She said, “The last few years have really searched me and my career – but I’m determined not to let that stop me.”
“I’m still under treatment and it will be a long way but I feel a little better every day and when I get better I can’t wait to get out and talk again.” . “
You can find Lauren at @laurenfayemossofficial on Instagram and Lauren Faye Moss on Spotify. The Best of Me is expected to be released this summer and will be available on all major music platforms.
For more information on hemochromatosis, visit britishlivertrust.org.uk