Linda Evangelista back in British Vogue after botched surgery left her 'brutally disfigured recluse'

The Canadian supermodel said her appearance after the cosmetic procedure CoolSculpting had left her 'so depressed that you hate yourself.' Sangeeta Kandola reports

Linda Evangelista has appeared on the cover of British Vogue, after retreating into hiding for years due to a botched cosmetic procedure that left her "permanently deformed".

Evangelista, one of the original supermodels of the 90s, told the fashion magazine she is “trying to love myself as I am" after being left "brutally disfigured."

The Canadian star, 57, took part in the photoshoot with her face held in place with tape and elastic, in her first photoshoot since she underwent CoolSculpting cosmetic surgery.

She said last year that her appearance following the procedure had "destroyed my livelihood" and sent her into “a cycle of deep depression," leading her to become a recluse.

The Canadian supermodel said tape and elastic had been used to hold her face back. Credit: PA Media

Appearing on the cover of British Vogue in a variety of outfits showing only the front of her face, she stressed that make-up artist Pat McGrath had used tape and elastics to draw back her face, jaw and neck.

"That’s not my jaw and neck in real life – and I can’t walk around with tape and elastics everywhere," Evangelista said.

“You know what, I’m trying to love myself as I am, but for the photos. 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.”

Who is Linda Evangelista?

The supermodel dominated runways in the 90s alongside Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford, but said she became a recluse after her botched surgery.

The modelling icons, known as the original 'supers,' also included Claudia Schiffer and Christy Turlington.

Evangelista with from left, Cindy Crawford, the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, and Claudia Schiffer in 1996. Credit: AP

In Evangelista's heyday, she was a regular fixture on glossy magazine covers and in major advertising campaigns.

She memorably appeared alongside Campbell, Crawford and Turlington in the music video for George Michael’s hit Freedom! 90.

What happened to Linda Evangelista?

Evangelista said she developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH) - a rare and adverse effect of CoolSculpting, when fatty tissue grows instead of shrinking in response.

The model has since settled a lawsuit in New York against Zeltiq Aesthetics, CoolSculpting’s parent company.

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is the brand name for cryolipolysis, a popular cosmetic procedure which freezes fat, prompting the fat cells to excrete out of the body through the liver.

The CoolSculpting website says the procedure is used for “treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental (under the chin) and submandibular (under the jawline) areas, thigh, abdomen, and flank, along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also known as banana roll), and upper arm."

Linda Evangelista arriving for the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty in 2004. Credit: PA Archive

Denying the photoshoot marks her modelling comeback after a number of years living as a “recluse," Evangelista said: “Am I cured mentally? Absolutely not. But I’m so grateful for the support I got from my friends and from my industry.

“You’re not going to see me in a swimsuit, that’s for sure.

"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.”

Credit: PA Media

Speaking about CoolSculpting, the model said: “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.”

In a statement to British Vogue, a representative for Zeltiq said: “We are pleased to have resolved this matter with Ms Evangelista. “Our focus continues to be on empowering confidence by providing safe, reliable aesthetics products and services backed by science.

She told British Vogue she had been drawn to the procedure both by its advertising and her own vanity. “Those CoolSculpting commercials were on all the time, on CNN, on MSNBC, over and over, and they would ask, ‘Do you like what you see in the mirror?’ They were speaking to me," she said. “It was about stubborn fat in areas that wouldn’t budge. It said no downtime, no surgery and … I drank the magic potion, and I would because I’m a little vain. So I went for it – and it backfired.”

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“CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared, non-invasive treatment for visible fat bulges in the nine areas of the body.” Zeltiq’s parent company Allergan has been contacted for further comment. The full feature is in the September issue of British Vogue, available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday.