Unexpected effects. Linda Evangelista was pretty much everywhere circa the ‘90s, walking runways, starring in fashion campaigns and making guest appearances in music videos.
Now, the 56-year-old supermodel isn’t seen much in the spotlight — and she opened up about exactly why she’s been steering clear of any and all attention via a Wednesday, September 22, Instagram post.
“Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years. To my followers who have wondered why I h ave not been working while my peers’ careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised,” she confessed.
Evangelista, who rose to fame alongside Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford, went on to explain that while the procedure was designed to “decrease” her fat cells, it instead “increased” them, leaving her “permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries.”
“I have been left, as the media has described, ‘unrecognizable,’” she continued. What’s more, she has developed a rare side effect called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia, or PAH.
“PAH has not only destroyed my livelihood, it has sent me into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness and the lowest depths of self-loathing,” Evangelista wrote in her Instagram post. “In the process, I have become a recluse.”
She went on to explain that she has filed a lawsuit. “I am moving forward to rid myself of my shame and going public with my story. I’m so tired of living this way. I would like to walk out my door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer,” she added.
After sharing her story, famous friends quickly jumped into the comments section to show Evangelista, who is the Vice President and Creative Director of skincare brand Erasa, support.
January Jones said, “Love that you’re reclaiming your story. This strength and bravery supersedes any superficial outward appearance. An icon is an icon is an icon. Always.”
Moschino fashion designer, Jeremy Scott, wrote, “You are and always will be a supermodel and adding super role mode of courage to your glorious resume. I love you.” Christine Evangelista, who is the supermodel’s first cousin, also chimed in: “We love you so much. #iconforever,” she wrote.
Fans took a similar approach, applauding the star for sharing her story. “You are still a queen, no matter what, we love, praise and support you,” a follower said. Another added: “Nothing can alter your beauty, it comes from within.”