Linda Evangelista has her face held in place with tape for Vogue photoshoot after cosmetic disaster

·4-min read
Linda Evangelista in the September edition of British Vogue
Linda Evangelista in the September edition of British Vogue

At first glance, there is little to distinguish it from the glossy and radiant images of old.

Linda Evangelista, the Canadian supermodel, beams from the pages of British Vogue oozing a familiar, easy confidence.

But the words tell a different story. She reveals that in fact, her face is being held in place with tape and elastic. She took part in the photoshoot, she says, as she was trying to “love myself as I am”.

It was barely a year ago when Ms Evangelista, one of the most beautiful and photographed women in the world, revealed she had been left "permanently deformed" and “brutally disfigured”.

She said she had become deeply depressed, turning into a recluse for the best part of five years, after a widely used cosmetic procedure to freeze fat cells went terribly wrong.

Linda Evangelista - Vogue
Linda Evangelista - Vogue

The process, called cryolipolysis, does not involve surgery but instead cools the fat so that frozen, dead fat cells can be excreted out of the body through the liver.

It is used on localised bulges of fat, including under the chin and jawline.

Ms Evangelista said she developed a complication called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia which led to the fatty tissues growing rather than shrinking.

The condition not only destroyed her livelihood but sent her into “a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing,” she admitted in September 2021.

In February, she announced that she was done living in “shame” and last month appeared in a Fendi campaign.

The array of glossy photographs that adorn the latest edition of Vogue show only the front of Ms Evangelista’s face, the rest shrouded in vibrant scarves.

She said 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,” she 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.”

Linda Evangelista - Instagram
Linda Evangelista - Instagram

She denied that the photoshoot marked a comeback after several years out of the spotlight.

"Am I cured mentally? Absolutely not,” she said. “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..."

Looking back at her decision to undergo the cosmetic procedure, she 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."

Drawn by the advertising

She admitted she had been drawn to the procedure by both 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."

The model, a darling of the fashion and beauty industries in the 1990s, has since settled a lawsuit in New York against Zeltiq Aesthetics, parent company of CoolSculpting.

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.

"CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared, non-invasive treatment for visible fat bulges in the nine areas of the body."

The September issue of British Vogue is available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday