Linda Evangelista Says She’s ‘Done Hiding’ After Cosmetic Procedure Gone Awry

Linda Evangelista has revealed how a cosmetic procedure has drastically changed her life.

The 56-year-old supermodel told People in a profile published Wednesday that she developed a rare complication from CoolSculpting treatments, which she got from August 2015 to February 2016. Evangelista told the magazine that the procedures left her with large, hard lumps all over her body, which caused her to lose “her identity.” For the past five years, she says, she has dreaded “running into someone I know.”

But she’s done living a life of seclusion.

Linda Evangelista attends 2015 Fragrance Foundation Awards in New York City.
Linda Evangelista attends 2015 Fragrance Foundation Awards in New York City.

Gilbert Carrasquillo via Getty Images

“I’m not going to hide anymore,” said the once highly photographed model who was so sought after in the 1990s that her name is also synonymous with her infamous quote that she wouldn’t “wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”

“I hope I can shed myself of some of the shame and help other people who are in the same situation as me,” she told People. “That’s my goal.”

CoolSculpting is a noninvasive procedure that was FDA-cleared in 2010 and can be viewed as an alternative to liposuction. It uses criolipolisis — the process of using cold temperature to break down fat cells — to eliminate 25% of unwanted, subcutaneous fat in a targeted area without diet or exercise. HuffPost spoke to doctors in 2021 about the procedure and most agreed it was effective, but warned that one should get a thorough consultation from a reliable professional to make sure they’re an ideal candidate before taking the plunge.

Evangelista at an AIDS benefit event in Mougins, France, in 1995.
Evangelista at an AIDS benefit event in Mougins, France, in 1995.

STF via Getty Images

Evangelista was diagnosed with paradoxical adipose hyperplasia — a rare condition caused by CoolSculpting that is shown to occur in less than 1% of patients — in June 2016. The condition enlarges, rather than shrinks, targeted areas. The Canadian model shared photos of the protrusions she developed on her legs and under one of her arms with People. Evangelista described the large lumps as being hard and painful.

“If I walk without a girdle in a dress, I will have chafing to the point of almost bleeding,” she told People. “Because it’s not like soft fat rubbing, it’s like hard fat rubbing.”

She said that her posture has also been affected because she can no longer “put my arms flat along my side.”

It is unclear if Evangelista was warned about PAH before she got CoolSculpting, but she did describe being bewildered by the bulges that developed on her body three months after getting treatments. When she was diagnosed with PAH in 2016, she described her reaction as being: “I was like, ‘What the hell is that?’”

Evangelista filed a lawsuit in September suing CoolSculpting’s parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., for $50 million in damages. She alleges that she’s been unable to work since developing PAH.

Jillian Mercado appears on the runway for The Blonds during New York Fashion Week in 2020.
Jillian Mercado appears on the runway for The Blonds during New York Fashion Week in 2020.

Roy Rochlin via Getty Images

“I don’t think designers are going to want to dress me with that,” Evangelista told the magazine, pointing to one of her bulges.

Meanwhile, Jillian Mercado, Winnie Harlow and Kanya Sesser have bodies that weren’t initially embraced by the industry but are working models.

To read Evangelista’s entire profile, head over to People.

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