There was once a time when you couldn’t watch a fashion runway or open a magazine without seeing supermodel Linda Evangelista, but for nearly five years, she’s been living in seclusion.
In a recent interview with People, Linda opened up about the physical and emotional damage she’s suffered after undergoing a plastic surgery procedure known as CoolSculpting.
Linda claims Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting — “a popular, FDA-cleared fat-freezing procedure that’s been promoted as a noninvasive alternative to liposuction” — left her “permanently deformed” and “brutally disfigured.”
“I can’t live like this anymore, in hiding and shame,” Linda told People. “I just couldn’t live in this pain any longer. I’m willing to finally speak.”
In September, Linda filed a $50 million lawsuit against CoolSculpting’s parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., after alleging she developed PAH (Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia) after undergoing seven sessions of CoolSculpting between August 2015 and February 2016.
Just three months after receiving the treatments, Linda noticed bulges in her chin, thighs, and bra area. Those areas soon grew, hardened, and eventually went numb. These happened to be the same areas she was trying to shrink.
Thinking she could fix the problem on her own, Linda began dieting and exercising. “I got to where I wasn’t eating at all. I thought I was losing my mind.”
And when Linda’s doctor contacted CoolSculpting about her PAH, she claims they offered to pay for liposuction to correct the PAH damage, but under one condition: Linda had to sign a confidentiality agreement. Linda refused and ultimately paid for the full-body liposuction surgeries herself.
During the recovery process, she had to wear a chin strap, compression garments and a girdle for eight weeks. Unfortunately, Linda said the PAH returned, despite getting a second lipo surgery done in July 2017.
“It wasn’t even a little bit better,” Linda added. “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.”
“I don’t recognize myself physically, but I don’t recognize me as a person any longer either. She is sort of gone.”
By speaking openly about her experience and the lawsuit, Linda hopes to not only gain her confidence back, but also spread awareness about the dangers of cosmetic surgery.
“I hope I can shed myself of some of the shame and help other people who are in the same situation as me,” Linda concluded. “That’s my goal. I’m not going to hide anymore.”
To read more about Linda’s journey, be sure to read her full interview with People.
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