Linda Evangelista has landed her first major magazine cover since a cosmetic procedure she had in August 2015 left her “permanently deformed”.
The 57-year-old model admitted that she “hated herself” and felt “so depressed” following a CoolSculpting procedure that left her feeling “unrecognisable”.
Now, after five years of “hiding”, the supermodel has returned to landing the high-octane campaigns and covers that kick started her career in the Eighties and Nineties, with a new cover for the September issue of British Vogue.
But it’s not a “comeback”, she tells the publication.
In the cover photo and fashion shoot that accompany her interview, she’s almost entirely covered (by chic scarves and hats of course), and the images don’t reflect the full extent of the side effect that “destroyed” her livelihood.
Evangelista wants to make it clear that in the pictures accompanying the interview, make-up artist Pat McGrath gently drew her face, jaw and neck back with tape and elastics.
“That’s not my jaw and neck in real life,” she tells Vogue, “and I can’t walk around with tape and elastics everywhere.”
“Look, for photos I always think we’re here to create fantasies. We’re creating dreams,” she continued.
“I think it’s allowed,”she added. “Also, all my insecurities are taken care of in these pictures, so I got to do what I love to do.”
Evangelista removed herself from the public eye five years ago, only revealing in September 2021 that had taken a step back because she'd been left “unrecognisable” as a result of the CoolSculpting procedure.
Via a lengthy statement on Instagram, the model described how she had suffered a series of rare side effects, including paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), after undergoing a fat-freezing process between August 2015 and February 2016, and that two corrective surgeries since had been “unsuccessful”.
Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is a rare complication and gets its name from the unexpected, paradoxical result of the CoolSculpting procedure intended to reduce fat cells: overgrowth (hyperplasia) of fatty (adipose) tissue.
“I offer my sympathy to anyone suffering, as I do, from PAH's painful, hardened masses which protrude from the skin wherever CoolSculpting was performed,” Evangelista wrote on her Instagram account following the announcement that had filed a liability lawsuit against Zeltiq for grievous injuries.
Evangelista settled the months-long lawsuit with Zeltiq Aesthetics, the procurers of the CoolSculpting Fat Reduction treatments, in July this year and said that she was ready to “put the matter behind me” in an Instagram post.
“Am I cured mentally? Absolutely not,” she told British Vogue. “But I’m so grateful for the support I got from my friends and from my industry…”
As for what the future holds for her career, it seems that the catwalk star is happy to return, but her condition doesn’t come without its difficulties for someone whose job is centred around their looks.
“You’re not going to see me in a swimsuit, that’s for sure,” she confirmed. “It’s going to be difficult to find jobs with things protruding from me; without retouching, or squeezing into things, or taping things or compressing or tricking…”
But with a Fendi campaign, and now a major magazine cover under her belt, this isn’t the last we'll see of Linda Evangelista.
See the full feature in the September issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday 23rd August.
Watch: Linda Evangelista lands first campaign since cosmetic procedure left her 'disfigured'