Supermodel Linda Evangelista Shares Photos Of Her "Permanently Deformed" Body, Caused By A Common Cosmetic Procedure

By Gina Florio··  4 min read
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Linda Evangelista

Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista, 56, is refusing to stay silent about the horrific reaction she had to a very common cosmetic procedure. She opened up to People about the experience and why she refuses to keep quiet about it.

You've probably heard of CoolSculpting before; in fact, you've probably even considered having the procedure done. After all, it's the most popular non-surgical body shaping treatment in the U.S. CoolSculpting promises to eliminate fat cells through freezing, a process that is called cryolipolysis. Linda Evangelista, Canadian fashion model who dominated the '90s, is finally opening up about the nightmare she experienced after opting in for a standard CoolSculpting treatment.

Linda Evangelista Says She Is "Permanently Deformed"

In September 2021, Linda shared on her Instagram page that she was taking "a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years." She explained why she hasn't been able to work normally like her peers have recently. It's because of debilitating damage done by a Zeltiq's CoolSculpting procedure.

"I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq's CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised," she wrote. "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,'" she said.

Linda shared that she developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH), and that she was not made aware of this risk before she had the procedure. "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," she continued. "In the process, I have become a recluse."

She is moving forward with her life by suing CoolSculpting's parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., for $50 million in damages and going public with her story. She sat down with People for an exclusive interview about how the procedure left her "brutally disfigured."

Linda Evangelista Shared Photos of Her Disfigurement

"I loved being up on the catwalk. Now I dread running into someone I know," she tells People. "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." 

Linda says she noticed bulging around her thighs, bra line, and chin about three months after the treatment. These areas were growing and hardening, and eventually they went numb.

Apparently, PAH affects less than one percent of people who opt in for CoolSculpting treatments. "That's the upsetting part," Dr. Alan Matarasso, a New York City plastic surgeon, tells People. "Patients go in to have something reduced, and now it's enlarged. And the problem with PAH is that, in some instances, it may not go away. In many circumstances the affected areas are no longer amenable to liposuction like they would've been in the first place."  

Linda was offered a deal by Zeltiq: they would pay for the liposuction surgery to correct the problem, but she had to sign a confidentiality agreement. She refused. She paid for her own surgeries in 2016.

"It wasn't even a little bit better," she continues. "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." 

She says she can barely recognize herself in the mirror and it has taken a toll on her mental health and confidence. But Linda remains optimistic that sharing her story will prevent other women from meeting the same fate.

"I hope I can shed myself of some of the shame and help other people who are in the same situation as me," she concludes. "That's my goal."

Linda bravely shared photos of her disfigurement with People as a warning to women everywhere. You can view them here.

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