Linda Evangelista says she’s been left “permanently deformed” after a cosmetic procedure went wrong.
The supermodel has not been in the spotlight in recent years and says it’s because she was “brutally disfigured” after having a fat-reducing procedure, and that she is now “unrecognisable”.
Opening up in a moving Instagram post, Evangelista, 56, said she had become “a recluse”.
She wrote: “Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and that I have kept to myself for over five years.”
Addressing fans “who have wondered why I have not been working while my peers’ careers have been thriving”, the model said she underwent a CoolSculpting procedure that she said has left her looking very different.
She told her 906,000 followers that the procedure “increased, not decreased, my fat cells and left me permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries”.
“I have been left, as the media has described, ‘unrecognisable’,” she said.
Evangelista — who was one of the top models in the 90s — said she developed a side effect called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), claiming she wasn’t made aware of the risk before she had the procedure.
“PAH 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,” she said. “In the process, I have become a recluse.”
The model also indicated that she has filed a lawsuit.
Telling her fans she was “moving forward to rid myself of my shame”, she explained: “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 model was inundated with supportive comments after sharing her story.
Australian fashion designer Alex Perry posted: “Your strength and honesty just made you profoundly more beautiful… from inside out… where it counts.”
“Sweet Linda,” wrote fellow model Karen Elsen. “I love you dearly, you are so brave and wonderful.”
Cover girl Cindy Crawford posted: “Linda - your strength and true essence are forever recognisable and iconic!”
CoolSculpting is used to eliminate fat cells by using extremely cold temperatures.
According to Healthline, PAH is “a very rare but serious side effect” which occurs mostly in men and “means the fat cells in the treatment site grow larger rather than smaller”.
Yahoo is attempting to contact the company behind the procedure for comment.
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