Last night, the supermodel took to Instagram to reveal that she is “permanently disformed” after having an adverse reaction to a fat-freezing procedure.
There isn’t a name more synonymous with ’90s glamour than Linda Evangelista. One of the original supermodels who many deem the greatest of all time, Evangelista has left an indelible mark on the fashion industry, from her iconic catwalk moments to her unforgettable one-liners. But while her contemporaries, like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford, have stayed in the spotlight, Evangelista has been noticeably absent—and now she’s bravely opening up about why.
Last night Evangelista took to Instagram to reveal that she is “permanently disformed” after having an adverse reaction to a fat-freezing procedure, saying it “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.” After five years of suffering, Evangelista is breaking her silence—and plans to take her case to court, she continued. “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.”
The complication Evangelista experienced is called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, which is an extremely rare side effect of cryolipolysis, the technical term for Coolsculpting, in which cold temperatures are used to permanently destroy fat cells in treated areas. According to Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, an estimated 1 in 20,000 patients who get the procedure report the opposite results as an excess of new fat develops around two months after undergoing treatment. “It is unclear why it happens, and we cannot predict who it will happen to,” explains Zeichner. “The current theory is that the leftover fat cells are stimulated to grow by an unclear mechanism.”
Evangelista says she was not warned about this risk—and that she has been “brutally disfigured,” even after undergoing two different corrective surgeries, which is the only way to treat paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, according to Zeichner. (The best bet is another fat reduction procedure, such as liposuction.)
As noninvasive cosmetic procedures grow in popularity, so does awareness around the rare side effects that can occur—especially when someone in the public eye comes forward with candor and transparency. “I think it’s great celebrities are discussing what they have done, to share both the good and the bad so we can further educate the public on what they can do to treat cosmetic concerns, and what the real risks are associated with getting these treatments,” says Zeichner.
Since Evangelista has shared her story, the industry has come out in droves to support her. “Thank you for your courage and strength,” said Marc Jacobs, who has been radically transparent about his own cosmetic treatments. “Love that you’re reclaiming your story,” wrote January Jones, who perhaps best summed up the power in Evangelista’s revelation, adding: “This strength and bravery supersede any superficial outward appearance. An icon is an icon is an icon. Always.”
This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Lauren Valenti