She may not yet be a household name, but if turning on your radio is any indication, rising rap artist Cardi B. will be soon enough. After getting her start on VH1's reality show "Love & Hip Hop: New York" in 2015, Cardi left the show in 2016 to dedicate her time to her budding music career. Today, in addition to her own songs, her rapping is featured on songs for everyone from Bruno Mars to Rita Ora. But Cardi didn't always have it so good. In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, the songstress discussed her famous figure - and what lengths she went to in her younger years to get the body of her dreams.
The 25-year-old rapper, whose humble beginnings started in The Bronx, New York, began working as a stripper in her early 20s. Though she made good money, Cardi noticed that some of the other women with larger backsides pulled in more tips than she did. After learning that her boyfriend at the time had recently cheated on her with a woman who also had a larger posterior, she resolved to do something about her own backside and sought out the services of a woman who provided butt implants in her Queens, New York, basement – and that's where the trouble began.
According to Cardi, the procedure was less than ideal. First of all, the woman did not offer anesthesia. The rapper, who says she experienced "the craziest pain ever," claims that she was in so much pain she thought she would pass out. Worse yet, the filler leaked from the injection site for days after the procedure. Henderson, Nevada, plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Mitchell says that for patients seeking discount procedures like basement butt-lifts, experiences like Cardi B.'s should serve as major red flags.
"There are so many things wrong with this story, I don't know where to begin," says Mitchell. "First of all, I don't care how much money you're saving, never, ever, ever get any kind of plastic surgery done in someone's basement."
According to Mitchell, the same goes for hotel rooms, beauty salons and anywhere else that isn't a sterile surgery center or operating room.
"Even if the best surgeon in the world did a procedure in a basement, you are still at an increased risk of developing all kinds of infections. And with a large area such as the buttocks, the risk of infection is already elevated," he says.
Another red flag? Mitchell says fillers are never injected directly into the buttocks.
"You would either get a silicone implant that's similar to a breast implant, or you would get your own body fat grafted in following a liposuction procedure from another area of your body," he says.
And, according to Mitchell, therein lies the key - and the main danger with these basement procedures.
"These people performing the lifts don't know what they're doing - how to use these fillers or where to inject them. Injecting silicone directly into the body can cause everything from permanent disfigurement to embolisms that result in death," says Mitchell.
In fact, that may be exactly what happened with Cardi's basement practitioner. According to the rapper, when she attempted to return to the woman who performed the injections for a touchup, she learned the practitioner had been arrested for causing the death of a woman during an illegal procedure.
"We are seeing more and more of these cases in the news," says Mitchell. "Several women have already died undergoing the same botched procedure - all performed at illegal basement clinics."
Mitchell, for his part, hopes Cardi's story helps highlight the dangers of undergoing discount surgery. He recommends checking your desired practitioner's reviews, license and board certification before hiring them to perform a procedure, because, as he puts it, "we all want to save money, but it's not worth risking your life."