Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding' (2023)

Once one of the most photographed people in the world, supermodel Linda Evangelista has been living in seclusion for almost five years. Now she's finally ready to share her story.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, Evangelista, 56, opens up about the emotional and physical pain that has cast a shadow on her life in recent years, after she claims 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." Evangelista filed a lawsuit in September suing CoolSculpting's parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., for $50 million in damages, alleging that she's been unable to work since undergoing seven sessions of CoolSculpting in a dermatologist's office from August 2015 to February 2016.

"I loved being up on the catwalk. Now I dread running into someone I know," she tells PEOPLE through tears in this week's cover story. "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 Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding' (1)

Within three months after Evangelista's treatments, she started noticing bulges at her chin, thighs and bra area. The same areas she'd wanted to shrink were suddenly growing. And hardening. Then they turned numb.

"I tried to fix it myself, thinking I was doing something wrong," says Evangelista, and she began dieting and exercising more. "I got to where I wasn't eating at all. I thought I was losing my mind."

Finally, in June 2016 she went to her doctor. "I dropped my robe for him," she recalls. "I was bawling, and I said, 'I haven't eaten, I'm starving. What am I doing wrong?' " When he diagnosed her with Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), she says, "I was like, 'What the hell is that?' And he told me no amount of dieting, and no amount of exercise was ever going to fix it."

(Video) Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare | PEOPLE

Supermodel Linda Evangelista Says She's Been 'Brutally Disfigured' by CoolSculpting Procedure Done 5 Years Ago

PAH is a rare side effect that affects less than 1 percent of CoolSculpting patients, where the freezing process causes the affected fatty tissue to thicken and expand. "That's the upsetting part," says Dr. Alan Matarasso, a New York City plastic surgeon and professor at Northwell School of Medicine (he has never treated Evangelista). "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 Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding' (2)

In a statement to PEOPLE, a representative for CoolSculpting says the procedure "has been well studied with more than 100 scientific publications and more than 11 million treatments performed worldwide" and added that known rare side effects like PAH "continue to be well-documented in the CoolSculpting information for patients and health care providers."

FDA-cleared in 2010, CoolSculpting uses a process known as cryolipolysis. Based on the way frostbite affects humans, the procedure works by placing a roll of fat between two paddles, which cool the fat to a below-freezing temperature. Studies show that the treatment — which is popular because of its accessibility at medical spas and minimal recovery time — can reduce targeted fat deposits up to 20 percent.

For the full interview with supermodel Linda Evangelista, listen to today's special episode of PEOPLE Every Day, the daily podcast from PEOPLE:

"I consider it a safe, effective treatment that's worthwhile and has a high patient — satisfaction rate," says Dr. Sue Ellen Cox, a dermatologist in Chapel Hill, N.C., who has conducted clinical trials on behalf of CoolSculpting and says she has successfully performed the procedure thousands of times. "If you can pinch an inch [of fat], you'll be a good candidate for CoolSculpting. It's the gold standard of noninvasive [fat-reduction procedures]."

(Video) Linda Evangelista Describes Fat Freezing Nightmare | The View

Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding' (3)

Evangelista alleges that when her doctor contacted CoolSculpting about her PAH, the company told him they wanted to "make it right" and offered to pay for liposuction with a surgeon of the company's choosing — a specialist she says they claimed to have used before — to correct the PAH damage. (Zeltiq declined to comment on Evangelista's specific allegations, citing the pending litigation.) In her suit, Evangelista says that "on the eve" of her liposuction, she was informed that Zeltiq would cover the procedure only if she signed a confidentiality agreement. She refused and had the first of two full-body liposuction surgeries — which she says she paid for — in June 2016.

Linda Evangelista Says She Has 'Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia' from CoolSculpting: a Doctor Explains

Following the surgery, Evangelista says, she had to wear compression garments, girdles and a chin strap for eight weeks. Otherwise, "the PAH may come back." Which, she says, it did, even after a second liposuction in July 2017.

Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding' (4)

"It wasn't even a little bit better," she says. "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 her posture has also been affected because she can no longer "put my arms flat along my side. I don't think designers are going to want to dress me with that" — she pulls down her shirt and shows the rectangular shape of PAH protruding from under her arm — "sticking out of my body."

(Video) How to Avoid Linda Evangelista's CoolSculpting DISASTER! A Plastic Surgeon Explains

"I don't look in the mirror," she adds. "It doesn't look like me."

Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding' (5)

This is a vivid contrast to the popular Linda Evangelista the world first came to know 30 years ago. With her Sophia Loren-like face and instinctive understanding of photography and style she racked up some 700 magazine covers over the course of her career and served as muse to industry icons like the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld and renowned photographer Steven Meisel. "No model was more super than Linda," Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour tells PEOPLE. Wintour put Evangelista on the iconic magazine's cover 11 times.

Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding' (6)

Much of Evangelista's story now — and her lawsuit — is about recovering her confidence and sense of self.

"Why do we feel the need to do these things [to our bodies]? I always knew I would age. And I know that there are things a body goes through. But I just didn't think I would look like this," she says of the protrusions, adding that she's lost her identity. "I don't recognize myself physically, but I don't recognize me as a person any longer either. She" —and she means Linda Evangelista, supermodel— "is sort of gone."

Helena Christensen and Other Models Support Linda Evangelista After She Shares Cosmetic Surgery Trauma


But she remains optimistic that sharing her trauma will provide comfort to others suffering from similar situations.

Linda Evangelista Shares First Photos of Her Body Since Fat-Freezing Nightmare: 'I'm Done Hiding' (7)

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

She says that's one of the main reasons she first broke her silence on Instagram last year, leading to support from her fellow supermodel tribe, including Cindy Crawford who cheered at the time, "Your strength and true essence are forever recognizable and iconic!"

And while Evangelista fights daily to regain what she's lost, she knows one thing for sure: "I'm not going to hide anymore."

For the full, exclusive interview with Linda Evangelista, pick up a copy of PEOPLE'S latest issue on newsstands Friday.


What model was ruined by CoolSculpting? ›

Linda Evangelista has settled her lawsuit with Zeltiq Aesthetics, after she says a CoolSculpting procedure led her body to become disfigured.

What actress was deformed by CoolSculpting? ›

Previously: Runway legend Linda Evangelista is opening up about why she has been out of the public eye, saying that she has been "brutally disfigured" after she had CoolSculpting procedures five years ago.

What did CoolSculpting do to Linda Evangelista? ›

Linda Evangelista has finally settled the $50 million CoolSculpting case she filed years after she claimed the non-invasive, fat-freezing cosmetic procedure left her "permanently disfigured" with "bulges and protrusions."

Did Linda Evangelista have CoolSculpting on her face? ›

Last year, supermodel Linda Evangelista revealed in an Instagram post that she was left "brutally disfigured" from a CoolSculpting procedure in 2016.

What celebrity has a side effect from CoolSculpting? ›

Evangelista, 56, spoke with People for the cover story of its upcoming issue about the “hiding and shame” after she developed disfiguring lumps on her body that she says were caused by CoolSculpting, a popular fat-freezing treatment viewed as a non-invasive alternative to liposuction. “I loved being up on the catwalk.

What celebrity went wrong with CoolSculpting? ›

The supermodel, who said in September that a cool sculpting procedure left her "permanently deformed," spoke about the ordeal with People magazine. Linda Evangelista is sharing photos of herself several months after suffering from a cosmetic procedure that alleges left her "brutally disfigured."

What is a bad outcome of CoolSculpting? ›

The most serious potential side effect to CoolSculpting is what Evangelista unfortunately experienced: PAH, an overgrowth of new fat cells that forms in the localized treatment area—exactly the opposite result you were trying to achieve. It tends to occur eight to 24 weeks after the procedure.

How often does CoolSculpting gone wrong? ›

Based on manufacturer data, PAH has been estimated to occur in 1 out of every 4,000 CoolSculpting treatment cycles, which is an incidence rate of 0.025 percent.

Do you have saggy skin after CoolSculpting? ›

Since CoolSculpting® reduces fat gradually for a moderate change, it's unlikely to cause sagging skin or make loose skin look worse. The fat cells that are broken down after the treatment are expelled by the body over months of time. The skin typically retracts around the new slimmer body contours.

Does Kim Kardashian do CoolSculpting? ›

Khloe is not the only one from her family to try CoolSculpting, her mother Kris Jenner also tried out the non-invasive treatment and even brought in the cameras on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. She swears by this incredible procedure, and now her daughter Kim is a CoolSculpting patient as well!

Can CoolSculpting be botched? ›

Evangelista first revealed the results of the procedure on social media in September 2021. She claimed at the time that CoolSculpting — an FDA-approved “fat-freezing” procedure described as a noninvasive liposuction alternative — had left her “brutally disfigured” and “permanently deformed.”

Does CoolSculpting affect the liver? ›

CoolSculpting Effectiveness

There's no damage to your liver. Side effects are mild, too, and go away after a short time. On average, it lessens the amount of fat in targeted areas by 10%-25%.

Can you gain fat back after CoolSculpting? ›

Since the treated fat cells are permanently removed during this process, the fat will not come back after getting CoolSculpting®.

What does paradoxical adipose hyperplasia look like? ›

Signs and Symptoms of Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia

The affected area does not look fuller and fattier. Instead, the affected area looks irregular and raised. Instead of soft to the touch like ordinary fat, the fat that PAH impacts is firm.

Did Jennifer Aniston do CoolSculpting? ›

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston stated that she “loves lasers and non-invasive treatments.” Thanks to CoolSculpting, she was able to remove her stubborn pockets of fat without surgery, this is a significant win for this A-list celebrity who is always in the spotlight.

Is there a class action lawsuit against CoolSculpting? ›

Plaintiffs Phornphan Chubchai, Javier Valencia and Paula Brooks filed the class action lawsuit against AbbVie, Inc. Friday in a California federal court, alleging the company's CoolSculpting System has the ability to cause permanent deformities to a person's body.

Does CoolSculpting affect your organs? ›

Answer: No Damage to Organs

CoolSculpting will not cause damage to your internal organs. The technology was actually developed after scientists studied several cases that showed that our fat cells are hypersensitive to cold, much more so than our skin, nerves, muscle, or organs.

What are the failures of CoolSculpting? ›

CoolSculpting is the most notorious for negative effects; hard lumps, shape irregularities, nerve damage; there have even been reports of tissue death and skin necrosis. In addition, the device has been documented to cause an overgrowth of fat. This condition is called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH).

Where does fat go after CoolSculpting? ›

CoolSculpting essentially kills the number of fat cells, so there are less of them in your body. Fat cells compromised by CoolSculpting become a waste product and then are processed by the lymphatic system and eliminated from the body permanently. These fat cells will not be regenerated by the body.

What does pah look like after CoolSculpting? ›

PAH causes the treated area to get bigger and firmer than the surrounding areas, having a “stick of butter” appearance similar to the shape of the CoolSculpting applicator. Other signs of this CoolSculpting complication include: Uneven fat distribution. Hard knots of tissue around the treatment area.

How many years does CoolSculpting last? ›

How long do results last? Your CoolSculpting results should last indefinitely. That's because once CoolSculpting kills off fat cells, they do not come back. But if you gain weight after your CoolSculpting treatment, you may gain fat back in the treated area or areas.

Can CoolSculpting cause permanent damage? ›

Coolsculpting doesn't cause nerve damage. However, numbness is common, according to the Center for Aesthetics. This can last for a few weeks. It can also come and go.

Who should not do CoolSculpting? ›

People who suffer from certain chronic pain conditions, as well as people who are pregnant, should not have CoolSculpting.

Why didn't CoolSculpting work for me? ›

Not Everyone Is a CoolSculpting Candidate. Not everyone sees the same results after CoolSculpting because not everyone has the right kind of fat to be a good candidate. CoolSculpting works best on the fluffy fat that lies above the muscle wall, formally known as subcutaneous fat.

What to do after CoolSculpting to maximize results? ›

How to Improve CoolSculpting Results By Dr. Suzanne Yee on August 19, 2021
  1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle. ...
  2. Drink Plenty of Water. ...
  3. Massage the Treated Area. ...
  4. Wear Loose Clothing or a Compression Garment. ...
  5. Avoid NSAIDs. ...
  6. Manage Expectations. ...
  7. Attend Follow-Up Treatments.
Aug 19, 2021

Who is the most beautiful celebrities without makeup? ›

50 Naturally Beautiful Celebs Without Makeup
  • Kim Kardashian. TikTok. Kim Kardashian served glass skin while promoting her SKKN brand on TikTok. ...
  • Demi Lovato. Demi Lovato on Instagram. ...
  • Ariana Grande. @arianagrande on Instagram. ...
  • Tana Mongeau. Instagram. ...
  • Hailey Bieber. Instagram.
5 days ago

Which celebrity has had the most cosmetic surgery? ›

She's had Botox, five face-lifts and liposuction, and her eyes have been done – twice. In total, Jackson has had 52 cosmetic procedures, a world record for the most procedures ever undergone by one person.

Who is not a good candidate for plastic surgery? ›

A: People who have health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, lung disease, heart disease, high cholesterol, arthritis, emphysema are not generally good candidates for cosmetic surgery.

How do you flush fat after CoolSculpting? ›

Massage the Area Post-Treatment

It helps break down frozen fat and encourages the lymphatic system to flush out the dead fat cells. For best results, continue to massage the treated area a few times a day for several days after a CoolSculpting treatment to promote the body's waste removal process.

Should I wear Spanx after CoolSculpting? ›

Wear Compression Clothing

You don't have to wear a medical-grade compression garment after you have Coolsculpting, but you might find that wearing something tight and somewhat compressing, such as Spanx or leggings, helps to keep swelling down.

Should I keep massaging after CoolSculpting? ›

The most important massage is the 2-minute massage immediately following your CoolSculpting treatment. Further massage hasn't been clinically evaluated but could potentially assist your body in dispelling the damaged fat cells or potentially reduce any swelling or bruising associated with your CoolSculpting treatment.

How many pounds of fat can CoolSculpting remove? ›

To be clear, CoolSculpting is a body contouring treatment and is not intended to help with weight loss, so it's very unlikely that you will lose a significant amount of weight when you use this treatment. However, most patients will be able to lose at least two to five pounds of body fat when they use the treatment.

How do the Kardashians have such flat stomachs? ›

The Kardashians star, who has unabashedly admitted to caring about looking good, recently underwent a skin-tightening procedure called the Morpheus8 Microneedling Fractional Treatment. "This is a game changer," the Skims founder touted on Instagram Stories Aug.

Can you drink wine after CoolSculpting? ›

We also recommend not drinking heavily (alcohol) the day of your treatment. One drink or glass of wine is OK. It is common for the treated area to feel bloated, look swollen, and to experience temporary dulling of sensation in the first few days and weeks after CoolSculpting.

What not to do after CoolSculpting? ›

STAY COOL. There's typically minimal recovery time with Coolsculpting, but we recommend you avoid high, direct heat and activities that cause strain or increase your body temperature such as heavy lifting or vigorous exercise 24 hours following your treatment.

Which model liposuction gone wrong? ›

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.

Which supermodel was disfigured by cosmetic procedure? ›

Former supermodel Linda Evangelista has settled a legal case with a company, 10 months after alleging their cosmetic procedure left her "permanently deformed". She said last September she had experienced an adverse reaction to a fat reduction procedure five years ago which actually increased her fat cells.

Did Jennifer Aniston have CoolSculpting? ›

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston stated that she “loves lasers and non-invasive treatments.” Thanks to CoolSculpting, she was able to remove her stubborn pockets of fat without surgery, this is a significant win for this A-list celebrity who is always in the spotlight.

What they dont tell you about liposuction? ›

You can expect a transformation after liposuction, but it won't be instantaneous. It can take several weeks or even a few months for swelling to completely subside and reveal your new body contours. In fact, you might temporarily gain a little bit of weight after surgery due to fluid accumulation.

Has Kim Kardashian ever had liposuction? ›

Kim Kardashian & liposuction

Between 2000-2005, some of Kim's body surgeries started at this time. The first procedure she did was “BBL” surgery, “thigh lift”, “breast implants”, and also later performed liposuction from the abdomen and injected it in the buttocks.

What type of liposuction has the highest complication rate? ›

As described, gluteal fat transfer is the only procedure with a higher risk of fatal fat embolism, and is still considered to have the highest mortality rate of any aesthetic procedure. The incidence of venous thromboembolic events (deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) after liposuction is low at 0.03%.

Who is the girl with the most plastic surgery? ›

Cindy Jackson has had 47 cosmetic procedures, costing her more than £53,000, earning her the Guinness World Record for the most work in history.

Do the Kardashians do CoolSculpting? ›

But KoKo is not the only Kardashian to benefit from the endless possibilities of CoolSculpting, Her mom, Kris Jenner, brought cameras as well as her daughter, Kendall Jenner, into the doctor's office to shoot one of her CoolSculpting sessions.

Is Jennifer Aniston's hair thick or thin? ›

Aniston continues to gift us with hair surprises. Not only did she actually hate “the Rachel” haircut that launched a million copycats (she called it “a pain in the butt” to maintain, because of her naturally thick, wavy texture—relatable!) she actually prefers her hair straight.


1. Linda Evangelista opens up about injury from cosmetic procedure gone wrong l GMA
(Good Morning America)
2. Plastic Surgeon Explains Linda Evangelista's CoolSculpting That Left Her "Brutally Disfigured."
(Dr. Gary Motykie)
3. Linda Evangelista ‘taped back her face’ for British Vogue cover shoot
(AllAbout - News)
4. Is There More To The Linda Evangelista Story? | COOLSCULPTING | Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia
(Dr Sarah Tonks)
5. Linda Evangelista and the Fantasies Fashion Sells
(Fashion Today News)
6. Linda Evangelista stars on new Vogue cover, opening up about disfiguring cosmetic procedure
(ABCD Baby School)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Last Updated: 07/08/2023

Views: 5741

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Birthday: 1992-06-28

Address: Apt. 413 8275 Mueller Overpass, South Magnolia, IA 99527-6023

Phone: +6824704719725

Job: District Real-Estate Facilitator

Hobby: Letterboxing, Vacation, Poi, Homebrewing, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Mrs. Angelic Larkin, I am a cute, charming, funny, determined, inexpensive, joyous, cheerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.