Why This Beauty Guru Has Gone Public About Having Two Vaginas
Beauty vlogger, Cassandra Bankson went viral last spring when she announced on her YouTube channel that she has two vaginas. The 22-year-old had originally gone to the doctor due to lower back pain. After an ultrasound and an MRI, Bankson was told that not only did she have one kidney, but also dual vaginal cavities, two uteruses and two cervixes.
The condition, called uterus didelphys, occurs in approximately one in 3,000 women, making it uncommon, but not rare. It happens in the female fetus when two small tubes don’t fuse to become one uterus. Although incredibly unlikely, there have even been cases where some women have gotten pregnant twice at the same time, with non-identical twins in each womb.
Image: MailOnline/Leo Delauncey
The news explained Bankson’s extreme menstrual cramps and extended periods, which can last up to a month long.
While different women with uterus didelphys have felt pain or heightened pleasure during sex, Bankson told me it hasn’t really affected her.
“Some stuff happened when I was younger, before we even knew about this, that really tainted my experience and my outlook on things,” she told me over the phone. “When it comes to that, the physical problems aren’t as bad as the psychological ones. The psychological stuff needs fixing before the physical.”
Although she didn’t elaborate, this has made sex “extremely uncomfortable and painful.” She added, “I don’t know if that’s physical or if it’s something I’m reliving in my head or that I associate with it.”
Bankson’s condition might complicate her ability to conceive. While some women with uterus didelphys have successfully gotten pregnant, others may require IVF. But she told me she’s also open to adoption.
She did insist that she’s reluctant to get any corrective surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary.
“I’m not a big fan of surgical procedures if I don’t need them. Like my wisdom teeth, that was traumatic enough.”
As for her romantic life, Bankson has yet to go out with a guy who knows about her condition before the date. But she said that anyone who can accept her, medical anomalies and all, is a “person who’s worth keeping around.”
Since her diagnosis, Bankson has made it her mission to raise awareness about it.
“I think the most important thing is I want to prompt people in the medical industry and people with similar conditions to learn more and to not feel alone,” she said. “But outside of that, I want to push people into accepting things about themselves that are inevitable and not necessarily bad.”
To her surprise, she was “overwhelmed by support” as the floodgates opened for other women to talk about their own experiences with uterus didelphys.
“There are so many people that deal with this and I feel blessed and honored that they’re even able to open up to me when they’re saying that they’ve never even heard of another person having this. And you almost feel like that big sister figure.”
Bankson is also participating in a study to help find a link between women with uterus didelphys and mothers with thyroid conditions, which her mother also has. Coming from a family with a medical background, she has found the experience “fascinating and liberating.”
She added, “It’s like my little special gift or special blessing that I can help others with.”
Not that there haven’t been downsides to going public with her diagnosis.
The biggest backlash is 'Why are you even talking about this? This is your personal life, no one needs to know about this.' Like people that are angry that I’m discussing it. And I understand that it’s an intimate topic. But I see it as a medical anomaly, like if it were anywhere else on the body would people have a problem with me discussing this? But it’s really you know, it’s just science.
Bankson has since received requests for porn and fetish dating sites, which she has swiftly turned down (“It’s kind of awkward”). Others have asked distasteful questions about her body, some even demanding pictures.
“There’s a difference between someone saying ‘How does that work? Can you show us an example?’ and someone saying ‘Man, I wanna see a photo of that! Oh, you can have a threesome without actually having a threesome bro!’ It’s like, please.”
Bankson’s big personality has endeared her to nearly 800,000 subscribers on YouTube. “The running joke in my family is that I'm twice the woman,” she wrote in an exclusive essay on Mimi Chatter. “Although, when I'm on one of my three-week periods, and having mood swings, my mother jokes that I have two a--holes, as well.”
Bankson is no stranger to using humor to cope with difficult times. She was bullied as a child for her chronic acne, which she said was so bad, that it covered 90 percent of her face, back and chest. Bankson eventually enrolled in a private study program and graduated two years early. She began devoting her free time to creating makeup tutorials on her YouTube channel, which amassed a loyal following. But it wasn’t until 2010 when she uploaded a how-to on concealing acne that she became an overnight sensation. Today that video has over 27 million views.
“My subscribers went up over night and I started to get calls from the mainstream media,” she told the Daily Mail. “It was like a whirlwind and things haven't really slowed down since.”
While Bankson’s following has grown, so has her confidence. She’s started modeling and writing about acne treatments on Mimi Chatter. By harnessing her vulnerabilities and quirky sense of humor, she’s been able to show her fans that they aren’t alone.
She told me:
My blog has always been about personal insecurities, certain things that gets us down and trying to turn those into positive things… If there is someone else who’s really young out there, or a mother who has a daughter, or whatever it is that she’s going through, maybe this could reassuring to them that they’re not alone and you can have a normal life.
Photos courtesy of Cassandra Bankson