Linda Evangelista: how is her face now after surgery ‘disfigured’ model - Vogue cover, CoolSculpting explained
The Canadian supermodel is back on the front cover of Vogue magazine after she said on Instagram last month that she had ‘become a recluse’ following a procedure gone wrong
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The 57-year-old claimed that the CoolSculpting treatment, a cosmetic fat freezing procedure, resulted in paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, where the fatty tissue on her body increased in size rather than shrank.
Evangelista said make-up artist Pat McGrath used tape and elastics to draw back her face, jaw and neck.
She said: "That's not my jaw and neck in real life”. She told the magazine she was "trying to love myself as I am".
"But for the photos," she added. "Look, for photos I always think we're here to create fantasies. We're creating dreams. I think it's allowed. Also, all my insecurities are taken care of in these pictures, so I got to do what I love to do."
Evangelista officially settled her lawsuit against CoolSculpting earlier this year after she alleged that she had been left “permanently deformed” after suffering side effects from the procedure.
Evangelista was one of the original supermodels of the 1990s alongside the likes of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, said she had been left “unrecognisable” due to a condition called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH).
Now, she has told British Vogue: "If I had known side-effects may include losing your livelihood and you'll end up so depressed that you hate yourself... I wouldn't have taken that risk."
This is everything you need to know.
Why did she say that she was ‘deformed’?
Evangelista took to Instagram in September of 2021 to say that she was left “permanently deformed” after a fat freezing procedure went wrong, and resulted in a dramatic change in her appearance.
Posting a statement on Instagram with the caption “#TheTruth” and “#MyStory”, Evangelista 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 which 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 has described, “unrecognizable”.
“I have developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia or PAH, a risk of which I was not made aware of 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 head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer.”
Many took to the comments of her Instagram post to offer support for the supermodel.
Designer Marc Jacobs wrote: “Thank you for your courage and strength. I love you dear Linda.”
Model Naomi Campbell also commented: “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 .. remember who you are, and What you have achieved and your influence and all the lives of people you have touched, and still doing so to this very day by sharing your story.
“Proud of you, and support you every step of the way.”
What did she say in the People interview?
In an emotional interview with People earlier this year, Evangelista said that she “can’t live like this anymore, in hiding and shame” after saying that she fears running into people that she knows.
She said that within a few months of her treatments, she began to notice bulges in the very spots she was attempting to shrink.
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.”
In June 2016, Evangelista finally saw her doctor. She said: “I dropped my robe for him.
“I was bawling, and I said, “I haven’t eaten, I’m starving. What am I doing wrong?””
When he diagnosed her with PAH, she said: “I was like, “What the hell is that?” and he told me no amount of dieting and no amount of exercise was ever going to fix it.”
In the interview, Evangelista alleged that when her doctor reached out to CoolSculpting about the situation, the company has told him they wanted to “make it right”. The company allegedly offered to pay for liposuction to correct the damage from the PAH.
However, in her lawsuit, Evangelista said that “on the eve” of her liposuction appointment, she was told that Zeltiq, the parent company of CoolSculpting, would only cover the procedure if she signed a confidentiality agreement - which she refused.
She went forward with the first of two full-body liposuction surgeries, which she said that she paid for herself, in June 2016. She then had her second surgery in July 2017.
Evangelista said that she had to wear compression garments, girdles and a chin strap for eight weeks, other wise the PAH might come back - which it did regardless.
She said: “It wasn’t even a little bit better. The bulges are protrusions. And they’re hard. 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.”
Evangelista said that she doesn’t look in the mirror because “it doesn’t look like me”.
She said: “I don’t recognise myself physically, but I don’t even recognise me as a person any longer.
“She [meaning Linda Evangelista, the supermodel] is sort of gone.”
She said that one of the main reasons for breaking her silence on Instagram last year was to “shed myself of some of the shame and help other people who are in the same situation as me”.
What is CoolSculpting?
The CoolSculpting website explains that it is a “fat-freezing procedure” and that “it uses controlled cooling to eliminate the stubborn fat that’s difficult to shirt, even with diet and exercise”.
The method was approved by the FDA in 2010 as a procedure for targeting and reducing fat cells.
CoolSculpting involves the use of cooling paddles that are applied to the area that’s being treated, and by pulling the tissue into the machine, it is then exposed to extremely cold temperatures, causing the fat cells to freeze and “die”.
According to the CoolSculpting website, common side effects include, but are not limited to, “muscular pain, temporary muscle spasm, temporary joint or tendon pain, and redness at or near the treatment site”.
It also adds: “Rare side effects also may occur. CoolSculpting may cause a visible enlargement in the treated area, which may develop two to five months after treatment and requires surgical intervention for correction.”
What is Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia?
Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH) is described as “a rare, previously unreported adverse effect of cryolipolysis” by the Women’s Institute for Health (WIFH), an Atlanta med spa which specialises in laser hair removal, Smartlipo, Cellulaze for cellulite, SculpSure non-invasive fat removal, tattoo removal, laser skin resurfacing (fractional CO2) and other laser aesthetic procedures.
WIFH says: “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.”
WIFH adds that PAH has a reported rate of incidence of 0.0051% of the 1.5 million CoolSculpting procedures performed worldwide.
Has she settled her CoolSculpting lawsuit?
On Instagram, Evangelista announced that she had officially settled her lawsuit against CoolSculpting, 10 months after she alleged that the cosmetic procedure left her “brutally disfigured”.
She wrote: “I’m pleased to have settled the CoolSculpting case. I look forward to the next chapter of my life with friends and family, and am happy to put this matter behind me.
“I am truly grateful for the support I have received from those who have reached out.”
Has she returned to modelling?
The latest chapter in Evangelista’s journey has seen the 57-year-old make a return to the world of modelling, fronting a new campaign for Fendi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fendi Baguette, which was designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi.
She shared on Instagram her first fashion shoot since the aftermath of her CoolSculpting treatment saw her step away from the public eye.
In the picture, Evangelista was photographed wearing a number of pink satin hats whilst posing with the Fendi Baguette handbag.