Supermodel Linda Evangelista has posed for her first photoshoot since revealing she has been left ‘permanently deformed’ from the rare side effects of a cosmetic procedure she underwent six years ago.
In September Linda, 56, revealed why she had retreated from the public eye when she claimed she had been ‘brutally disfigured due to a rare side effect from the fat-reducing procedure, CoolSculpting.
According to Linda, she had undergone seven sessions of the procedure to ‘decrease’ her fat cells from August 2015 to February 2016, but instead the procedure ‘increased’ her fat cells, a peril she insists she was not warned of, so is now taking legal action.
Speaking to People, the Vogue icon detailed how she ‘stopped eating’ and thought she was losing her mind when bulges began to appear at her chin, thighs and bust area- and how she now ‘dreads running into someone she knows’ after decades as a catwalk sensation. She also posed for photos showing growths on her bust and legs.
Devastating: Supermodel Linda Evangelista has posed for her first photoshoot since revealing she has been left ‘permanently deformed’ from the rare side effects of a cosmetic procedure she underwent six years ago
She said: ‘I loved being up on the catwalk. Now I dread running into someone I know.I can’t live like this anymore, in hiding and shame. I just couldn’t live in this pain any longer. I’m willing to finally speak.’
During a cryolipolysis procedure, also known as body sculpting, a device that’s usually set below freezing temperature is applied to fat deposits, which causes cell death in the fat tissue. The body can then pass the dead fat cells.
But Linda has developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia – a rare, previously unreported adverse effect of cryolipolysis, which has been reported in of 0.0051% of the 1.5 million CoolSculpting procedures performed worldwide.
With this condition, the treated area becomes larger, rather than smaller, in the weeks after the procedure. It can leave a ‘painless, visibly enlarged, firm, well-demarcated mass’ underneath the skin.
Dramatic return: In September Linda, 56, revealed why she had retreated from the public eye when she claimed she had been ‘brutally disfigured due to a rare side effect from the fat-reducing procedure, CoolSculpting (pictured left, in 2017, AFTER having the procedure and before the procedure – right in 2005)
Linda detailed how within three months of her treatments she noticed bulges forming on her body, with the targeted areas growing rather than shrinking – before hardening and becoming numb.
She said: ‘I tried to fix it myself, thinking I was doing something wrong. I got to where I wasn’t eating at all. I thought I was losing my mind.’
She visited her doctor in 2016 in a visit which left her ‘bawling’ and asking ‘what am I doing wrong’ before she was diagnosed with PAH and told the condition couldn’t be fixed by diet or exercise.’
She filed a lawsuit last September suing CoolSculpting’s parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc, for $50 million in damages. Linda claims she has been unable to work since the procedures.
The star claims that CoolSculpting offered to pay for liposuction for her to correct the damage caused by PAH after her doctor contacted them.
She alleges on the eve of her liposuction, Zeltiq said they would only pay for the procedure if she signed a confidentiality agreement – which she refused. Zeltiq declined to comment to People on these claims amid the current lawsuit.
Mailonline has contacted Zeltiq for comment.
In June 2016 Linda underwent a full body liposuction procedure which she claims she paid for. She underwent liposuction again in July 2017.
That was then: Linda is pictured in 2016 in Tokyo, in one of her most recent appearances, which came shortly after the treatment which caused her fat cells to increase and cause weight gain
Linda said she had to wear girdles, a chin strap and compression garments for eight weeks after the liposuction to prevent the PAH coming back – but said the condition did return after her second liposuction.
The model says she can no longer bear to look in the mirror as ‘it doesn’t look like me’ and detailed the pain of chafing caused by the bulges.
She said: ‘If I walk without a girdle in a dress, I will have chafing to the point of almost bleeding. Because it’s not like soft fat rubbing, it’s like hard fat rubbing. [I can’t] put my arms flat along my side. I don’t think designers are going to want to dress me with that’ sticking out of my body.’
Linda admits her identity as ‘Linda Evangelista, supermodel’ is now ‘sort of gone’ due to the condition and she no longer recognises herself.
A CoolSculpting representative told People: ‘The procedure has been well studied with more than 100 scientific publications and more than 11 million treatments performed worldwide’. They added that rare side effects such as PAH ‘continue to be well-documented in the CoolSculpting information for patients and health care providers.’
The interview comes five months after Linda broke her silence on her health woes with a statement.
Changes: Speaking to People , the Vogue icon detailed how she ‘stopped eating’ and thought she was losing her mind when bulges began to appear at her chin, thighs and bust area- and how she now ‘dreads running into someone she knows’ (pictured left in 2017 after the procedure and right in 2015 at the Met Gala – shortly before the procedure)
She wrote: ‘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 have not been working while my peers’ careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure…
‘[It] did the opposite of what it promised. It increased, not decreased, my fat cells and left me permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful corrective surgeries. I have been left, as the media described, ‘unrecognizable.”
The model claimed she wasn’t properly warned of the potential side effects associated with the CoolSculpting procedure. She went on: ‘I have developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia or PAH, a risk of which I was not made aware before I had the procedures…
‘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. In the process, I have become a recluse…
‘With this 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 held held high, despite not looking like myself any longer.’
She described developing Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia, a rare condition sometimes observed after similar procedures in which adipose tissue (or body fat) increases after procedures known as cryolipolysis, even though they usually decrease adipose tissue.
Battle: The model says she can no longer bear to look in the mirror as ‘it doesn’t look like me’ and detailed the pain of chafing caused by the bulges – seen in 2012 in NYC
WHAT IS PARADOXICAL ADIPOSE HYPERPLASIA (PAH)?
Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is a rare, previously unreported adverse effect of cryolipolysis.
Cryolipolysis uses cooling to damage and destroy subcutaneous fat cells, without damaging the skin to reduce the amount of fat in the treated area.
This phenomenon of PAH has a reported rate of incidence of 0.0051% of the 1.5 million CoolSculpting procedures performed worldwide. Many physicians see numerous cases in their offices.
PAH causes a gradual enlargement of the treated area. It occurs when the stimulus (the freezing of fat cells) activates a reactionary process in the fatty tissue that thickens and expands the fat cells rather than breaking them down and allowing the body to process and remove them.
PAH is only known to occur following a cryolipolysis, or CoolSculpting body contouring treatment.
PAH typically cannot be confirmed until about 6 months post-procedure, with patients complaining that they are getting bigger in the exact shape of the applicator, as depicted below.
According to Healthline, the increased fat deposits aren’t harmful, but they also don’t appear to go away on their own over time. The ‘very rare’ condition is most common in men who have undergone cryolipolysis, though it can still affect women.
Linda singled out the Allergan subsidiary Zeltiq for allegedly performing the botched procedure without informing her of the potential negative side effects.
Sarah Michelle Gellar was unveiled as a CoolSculpting ambassador in 2020.
Speaking at the time, Sarah detailed that while she is incredibly fit and healthy she struggles with difficult to shift areas of fat. She said: ‘I had had such a positive experience with the procedure [Coolsculpting®] (and the results)…
‘I was able to target those specific areas with an incredible result and with only an hour of my time (I even managed to get through a few chapters in the book I was reading) so you know that’s a win for me.’
Linda’s post elicited an outpouring of sympathy and supporting from the model’s admirers and friends in the fashion industry.
Moschino Creative Director Jeremy Scott penned: ‘You are and always will be a supermodel now adding super role model of courage to your glorious resume. I love you’.
Mad Men star 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.’
Evangelista’s fellow supermodel Cindy Crawford wrote: ‘Linda — your strength and true essence are forever recognizable and iconic! Bravo!’. Gwyneth Paltrow shared her love with a heart emoji.
Fellow supermodel Helena Christensen shared a moving comment for her old friend. She penned: ‘It would’ve taken immense courage and strength to write these words. I can honestly say that I broke down in tears reading this…
‘Not only because I knew in my heart you somehow had been quietly going through something deeply personal and disturbing but also because I thought of all the scars life leaves on us all, whether physical or emotional and how long we suffer mostly in silence and alone.
‘It is so important and beautiful when someone steps out of the shadow and are brutally honest and real. Thank you for being beautiful inside and out.’
Naomi Campbell, who soared to fame alongside Linda in their heyday, wrote: ‘Elos I applaud you for your Courage and strength to Share your experience and not be held hostage by it anymore .. You know I love you…
‘We love you and here for you always Right by your side .. I can’t imagine the pain you gone through mentally these past 5 years ., your free of it now….
Rare adverse effect: The interview comes five months after Linda broke her silence on her health woes with a statement
The model muse was best known in the nineties as one of the world’s six supermodels, a group which also included Naomi, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Kate Moss.
The comment in her statement about her peers ‘thriving’ comes after her peers reunited on the Versace runway in 2017 – with the ‘Originals’ gathering to showcase the latest collection.
Donatella Versace gathered Claudia, Naomi and Cindy alongside Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni to walk the runway following on from their frequent appearances for the brand in their heyday.
Linda got her start in modelling at the age of 16 when she took part in the Miss Teen Niagara beauty pageant, where she was spotted by a representative from Elite Model Management.
Her unique and versatile look meant that Linda was able to snag a multitude of modelling jobs, quickly becoming one of the highest paid models in the industry.
Starring role: The comment in her statement about her peers ‘thriving’ comes after her peers reunited on the Versace runway in 2017 – with the ‘Originals’ gathering to showcase the latest collection – with Linda notably absent
Star: Linda (left) was notably absent from the 2017 Versace reunion, despite being a stalwart of the brand’s campaigns (pictured in 1991 alongside Cindy, Naomi and Christy Turlington L-R)
She was famed for her – frequently misquoted – comment in a 1990 Vogue interview in which she said: ‘We have this saying, Christy [Turlington] and I… we don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.’
This transcended into various popular quotations including: ‘I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day’ and ‘I never get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.’
She later said of the comments: ‘I feel like those words are going to be engraved on my tombstone. It was brought up every single time I did an interview. I apologized for it; I acknowledged it; I said it was true; I said it was a joke…
‘Do I regret it? I used to regret. Not anymore. I don’t regret anything anymore. Would I hope that I would never say something like that ever again? Yes. Am I capable of saying something like that again? I hope not.’
Since then, she has starred in campaigns for brands including NARS, Fendi, L’Oreal, Chanel, Talbots and Moschino. As of 2014, Linda was worth approximately $18million (£11.7million).
She has one child, an 14-year-old son named Augustin, with former flame, French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, who is now married to actress Salma Hayek.
LINDA’S POST-PROCEDURE TRANSFORMATION
Linda’s last appearance was on social media two years ago. Her face was largely concealed by hats in a duo of images she uploaded, with her transformed image barely-visible.
In another image taken during a horseride, Linda wore a mask over her face, as well as a hat and sunglasses As well as keeping her face partially hidden in the images, Linda did not let any of her body be seen in the images.
Sightings of the star in 2017 saw the biggest change in her appearance fresh from undergoing the ill-fated treatment the previous year.
She was seen in New York and Tokyo, during which she had a fuller face and seemed somewhat puffy as she was showing the aftermath of the side effects, which she has since lamented on social media.
According to her statement, Linda would have undergone the CoolSculpting in 2016.
One of her rare sightings was in April of that year, when she was again seen in Tokyo. During the appearance, she was seen looking different to her appearances the previous year, in which she was seen looking more svelte.
Clad in all-black, the supermodel made a low-key arrival and went make-up free for the outing.
The year before Linda underwent her CoolSculpting, the star was looking wholly more like her runway self, as she took to the red carpet at the Met Gala in May.
In June, she was again seen on the red carpet, this time at the Fragrance Awards.