Linda Evangelista Now: How the Supermodel Learned to Love Herself After “Career-Ending Disfigurement”
The Supermodel put her trust in the wrong people. She was lied to and there’s no going back.
Linda Evangelista has one of the most recognizable faces (and bodies) in the world!
She has graced the covers of over 700 magazines. The ‘fashion’s great actress’ model, praised for her Sofia Loren-esque looks, may be just as famous for this single line she quipped:
The wildly successful 90s supermodel was contemporaries with industry legends like Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, and Christy Turlington.
Along with Linda Evangelist, the group became famous as the “original 90s supermodels” aka The “Big Five.”
While every model has their signature “look” (see: Cindy Crawford‘s iconic Pepsi commercial), Linda Evangelista continued to reinvent herself.
She was notorious for pushing the envelope, trying her hand at new aesthetics, and dramatically altering her haircut and colour from one day to the next. She could be anyone from coquettish ingenue to androgynous biker in less than a day.
“I change all the time, that’s why I am interesting.”Evangelista, Macleans
While it might be easy to be dismissive of “models” – do not confuse the old-school originals with the “influencers” of today.
Evangelista wasn’t snapping iphone photos of herself in drop-shipped bikinis in her backyard, or using AI apps to enhance her body and beauty. No, Linda Evangelista was from a time when high fashion and the models who would sport couture, were still “art”.
When America still had a shred of European sensibility, or at least the desire too moonlight as such.
As a result, Evangelista was devoted to pushing the boundaries of her bodily form – it was the canvas she was given to collaborate. And Evangelista’s ability to transform her look for the camera earned her the nickname “the chameleon”.
Only, like the myth of Icarus who flew too close to the sun, Evangelista took her transformations too far.
She Lived in Hiding For Over 5 Years: The Toll of a Cosmetic Procedure Gone Wrong
Before Linda Evangelista broke her silence in 2022, she had been living in hiding for over five years.
Yes, the 5′ 10″ supermodel who once ruled the catwalk, was so ashamed of her “botched” cosmetic surgery, she hid from the public eye for half a decade.
In an exclusive tell-all interview with PEOPLE in late 2022, Evangelista broke down in tears, sharing the living nightmare that was her CoolSculpting surgery.
The “Non-Invasive” Surgery Took Everything From Her
When Evangelista decided to do her first CoolSculpting procedure in 2015, she ended up with a completely different body transformation than the one she was sold.
Zeltiq Aesthetic’s CoolSculpting is a popular FDA-cleared “fat-freezing” procedure that’s promoted as a “non-invasive” alternative to liposuction.
Linda Evangelista now looks back on her choice to move forward with the CoolSculpting procedure as one of he worst decisions she’s ever made.
From August 2015 to Feburary 2016, Evangelista underwent 7 CoolSculpting procedures which left the model “brutally disfigured” and “permanently deformed.”
In a heart felt Instagram post, Evangelista shared her cosmetic procedure nightmare with her fans.
She Couldn’t Walk Without Being in Pain: Linda Evangelista’s Battle to Reclaim Her Life
Ahead of her “non-invasive” procedure, Evangelista says she was not warned of the potential CoolSculpting side effects.
“Side effects”, that would go on to damage the model’s career and subsequently self-esteem that was paramount to her power in her career (more on “confidence” below).
When Linda Evangelista noticed hard, lumpy bumps appear on her inner thighs, she didn’t think much of it at first.
Maybe it was just a temporary bad reaction that would subside in a few days?
She couldn’t have been more wrong.
Those hard, bulbous lumps on her legs? Evangelista was experiencing an irreversible CoolSculpting side effect gone wrong, otherwise known as Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH).
According to a 2018 editorial published in Science Daily, PAH is estimated to occur in 1 out of every 4,000 treatment cycles. Evangelista was one of the unlucky ones.
After several attempts at “corrective surgeries,” the PAH proved untreatable. It was then Evangelista went into hiding.
A Tale of Courage and Transformation: The $50 Million Dollar Lawsuit That Changed The Narrative
After several years in hiding, Evangelista decided she was done staying silent.
Following Evangelista’s instagram post sharing her painful recovery and healing journey, she filed a lawsuit in September of 2012.
The former Supermodel sued CoolSculpting’s parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., for $50 million in damages.
Evangelista alleges since her disfigurement and failed corrective surgeries, she’s been unable to continue working as a model.
In July of 2022, Linda Evangelista won her CoolSculpting Lawsuit. She took to Instagram to thank her followers and peers for their endless support.
Her Fight for Self-Acceptance: There Was No Turning Back, She Could Only Move Forward
It’s not just a myth to say “confidence” is sexy. In fact, I am of the belief that 90% of a model’s superpower is in her “walk”.
And if you think anyone can walk like a model, think again.
Kendall Jenner’s been modeling for years, and her “walk” is criticized constantly. You can buy a new nose, but you can’t buy a new walk. That’s all you.
Because a model’s walk? It’s the pure confidence she’s born with.
This video of Naomi Campbell walking for DSquared in 2003, sends shivers down my spine. Even though, yes, her figure is *out of this world* – that’s not what makes her presence so powerful. (It’s not even her gorgeous face, hidden behind massive aviator sunnies).
I’ve watched this video countless times and I’m certain what makes Naomi Campbell a living legend can be studied in the horsepower of her walk.
Campbell quite literally owns the runway. She takes up all the space. She doesn’t just have confidence, she is confidence. That is the X-Factor of the model.
So for someone like Linda Evangelista to lose her confidence?? That’s like a painter getting his hand chopped off! It really is that, debilitating.
Why It’s So Brave for Linda Evangelista To Share Her Story
And ultimately, it doesn’t matter if modeling isn’t a profession you would choose for yourself. I’m sure Evangelista has no desire to be a dental hygienist but can rally behind the downsides of contracting carpal tunnel at an early age!
So, if you think modeling is vapid (and easy) and Evangelista has nothing to cry about–then I urge you to reconsider!
I get it. It’s hard to empathize with someone who’s life is so far from our own understanding.
Sure. Most of us cannot relate to what it’s like to be christened as 1 of the 5 hottest women in the world, but we do all know what it’s like to feel the pressure to fit in.
At one point or another in our lives, we’ve all felt we were behind the eight ball. As though we were failing to meet the insane demands and always-changing standards put on us (in work, love, or otherwise)!
Even one of the most famous models in the world felt pressure, from the industry she grew up in, to maintain a certain image!
Which is why Linda Evangelista sharing her story is so important.
For a Supermodel – whose job is being gorgeous – to share her struggle with aging and her self-acceptance journey helps reminds us we’re not the only ones.
Emotional pain comes in all different shapes and sizes. Yes, we may all be in different “fields”, but career pressure is real. We may not all share the Supermodel’s struggles but at the end of the day, we’re not all that different.
No matter what age you are, size you wear, or job you work–we all feel the same pressure to fit in. And for Linda Evangelista to come out and share her story? I don’t care what anyone else says, that’s brave.
A world-class model admitting to undergoing surgery, is like an olympian admitting to taking performance enhancing drugs.
It’s shameful to admit, liberating when you do (?), and absolutely does not discredit all the very real hard work you put in to even qualify as one of the best in the world.
So snaps for Linda Evangelista. Who may not feel she compares to the woman she once was, but as far as the rest of us are concerned, still totally serves face in this most recent VOGUE reunion cover (2023).
It looks like whatever she’s been putting into working on her confidence she’s getting back in spades.
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