Supermodel Linda Evangelista was one of the world’s top supermodels in the 1990s. Her face was everywhere—on the runway, in ad campaigns, and on the cover of magazines. But for the past five years, Evangelista says she has been living in near seclusion after a cosmetic procedure went wrong.
In a new interview with People published on Wednesday, February 16, Evangelista explains in detail her reasons for hiding from the public eye alongside photos that capture the emotional and physical pain she’s experienced following her CoolSculpting treatment. While CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved fat-freezing procedure that is promoted as a less invasive alternative to liposuction, the model says it has left her “permanently deformed.” Per People, Evangelista filed a lawsuit in September 2021 against CoolSculpting’s parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., for $50 million in damages, alleging that she’s been unable to work since receiving seven sessions of CoolSculpting from August 2015 to February 2016.
Evangelista first shared that she was suing in an Instagram post shared on September 22, 2021.
“I loved being up on the catwalk,” Evangelista, 56, told People. “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.”
Within months of the treatment, Evangelista says she started noticing bulges on her body from her chin to her thighs. “I tried to fix it myself, thinking I was doing something wrong,” she said. “I got to where I wasn’t eating at all. I thought I was losing my mind.”
When Evangelista went to the doctor and revealed the bulges, she says she was diagnosed with paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH). Per People, PAH is “a rare side effect that affects less than 1% of CoolSculpting patients, where the freezing process causes the affected fatty tissue to thicken and expand.”