For most of us, a case of bedbugs at a hotel might prompt a call to the manager and a shady Trip Advisor review. But when it happens to a Victoria’s Secret model, it leads to two months out of work and a hefty damages lawsuit.
Brazilian model Sabrina Jales St Pierre is suing the Palm Desert Embassy Suites by Hilton for an undisclosed amount after bed bugs allegedly feasted on her skin during a stay in 2016.
The mother of one suffered roughly 90 bites, or as her lawyer, Brian Virag, put it to NBC: “She absolutely got massacred”.
Photographs shown by the network capture a distinctive pattern of bites spread across the model's upper back and legs.
“I literally wanted to rip my skin off,” she told NBC.
“The first morning, when I woke up, I noticed a couple of bites on my arm, but I didn’t think anything of it. And then, the second morning is when I noticed all the bites, and that’s when it got worse.”
The Californian hotel has firmly denied Jales St Pierre's accusations, and claims both hotel management and independent pest controllers found no sign of the bugs in the model's room.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny insects that tend to take up residence in crevices around beds, especially mattress seams. They feed on human blood, and their bites can cause red, intensely itchy spots, which sometimes don't appear for several days.
According to the Australian Government's Health Direct portal, bed bug bites tend to clear up on their own, or with simple first aid measures. A doctor may provide steroid creams or antihistamines in more severe cases.
Jales St Pierre claims she was well and truly in the latter camp.
"It was really swollen, really red, the bites were huge," she told Inside Edition. "I had to take a break from modelling just because it was impossible to do auditions, or castings or anything. You can't work when you have all of those marks on your body everywhere."