Jael Strauss was once a beautiful 22-year-old finalist on cycle eight of America’s Next Top Model, yet to see her now, one would never guess her aspirations of one day walking a runway. From an addiction to meth, and other drugs, Jael, now 28, has developed scars and rotted teeth. Jael’s family has reached out to Dr. Phil, pleading for an intervention before there is no turning back.
“Do the drugs get her and take her life, or do we get her and save her life?” asks Dr. Phil McGraw in the teaser for today’s episode of Dr. Phil. As Jael enters the studio and notices all the people, she bolts and escapes to the parking lot in tears. How did such a promising talent succumb to drugs?
“I think she wants to be in a place where there are no expectations of her,” says Jael’s mother, Lisa. While she admits to once hanging out with her daughter and her friends and participating in the use of cocaine, Lisa and Jael’s father Larry are desperate to find help for their daughter. The pressure from fans and spotlight found while competing for the title of America’s Next Top Model caused Jael to act out and get kicked off of the show. From there, the usage of at least five identified drugs found her estranged from her family, working as a stripper to make money and living in a cheap motel.
Dr. Phil has recruited Debbie and Brandon of VIP Recovery to assist the family in finding Jael, holding her in a safe environment, namely the family home, and staging an intervention. Once they have her in the home, Jael goes ballistic. She fights off any family member who tries to touch her and tries to run away. It’s a very, very sad sight. There is no doubt in Debbie’s mind that she is strung out on meth amphetamines.
It takes two hours of convincing, but Jael agrees to help from Dr. Phil. “I’ve had the opportunity to help many people get off drugs and get back to their lives,” says Jael’s father Larry, “but I never had the objectivity to help my own daughter.” Perhaps this is because, when asked by Dr. Phil if he has ever taken drugs, he states that he isn’t there to share details of his personal life.
With one look at Dr. Phil, and I can’t say that I blame her, she bolts out of the studio door. Her father Larry, Brandon and other team members find her against a wall, behind a dumpster. With an administered cigarette in hand, she cries, “It’s so embarrassing. I never wanted this to happen.” Dr. Phil sits with her and stresses that the strangers that fill that studio are rooting for her to get clean and work through these family issues.
Tossing aside the ridiculous and unnecessary boasts of how he has never run after someone to speak to them, Dr. Phil makes mention of a traumatic instance occurring when Jael was ten years old, in which her parents did not believe her. Jael didn’t want to discuss details, but it’s obvious this is the root of her problem. She agrees to get help and check in to what Dr. Phil calls “the best rehabilitation center in the country.” Upon her return to the stage, the audience rises to their feet, applauding her.
Dr. Phil sure loves to pull drama out of his bag of tricks, yet this is is definitely in need of serious help. Seeing how he has helped Brandon stay sober for seven years, it should be safe to say that Jael Strauss can be the beautiful person she once was.
(Image courtesy of Dr. Phil)