Linda Evangelista is ready to model again, but she knows it's going to be a journey.
In her cover story for British Vogue's September issue, published on Thursday, the supermodel, 57, got candid on what's to come of her career after taking a break for five years due to a CoolSculpting accident that left her body "brutally disfigured."
"I miss my work so much, but honestly, what can I do? It isn't going to be easy," she admitted to the outlet, believing that people have forgotten her legacy as one of the '90s most coveted faces.
"You're not going to see me in a swimsuit, that's for sure," she added. "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…," all of which were strategically thought out by Evangelista for her Vogue photo shoot.
"That's not my jaw and neck in real life — and I can't walk around with tape and elastics everywhere," she said (the publication clarified that makeup artist Pat McGrath "gently drew her face, jaw and neck back with tape and elastics" for the images, which were photographed by Steven Meisel).
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While not entirely reflective of her current state, she noted that photos like these are rooted in creating "fantasies" and "dreams." "Also, all my insecurities are taken care of in these pictures, so I got to do what I love to do," she said.
Although the former runway star says she isn't "cured mentally" from the latter, she's "grateful" for the support she's had from her industry colleagues and friends.
From 2015 to 2016, Evangelista participated in seven CoolSculpting fat-freezing sessions that she expected to be a noninvasive alternative to liposuction. Instead, she said the treatments increased and expanded her fat cells. The result was a diagnosis of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH), a rare side effect that affects less than 1 percent of CoolSculpting patients.
In 2021, she went public with an update on Instagram, revealing that she was also filing a lawsuit against Zeltiq Aesthetics — the parent company of CoolSculpting.
"If I had known side effects may include losing your livelihood and you'll end up so depressed that you hate yourself…" she confessed to British Vogue. "I wouldn't have taken that risk."
But, something she is ready to embrace with open arms is aging. "Bring it on. I just want to be here to see it all. I'm not done, I want to see Augie turn into a man," she said, referring to her 15-year-old son Augustin, whom she shares with François-Henri Pinault.
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE in February, the Canadian model got candid about her relationship with Augustin, particularly when it came to opening up to him about her condition. "I should not be a burden to my child," she said. "He shouldn't have to be supporting me. That's not his job."
Throughout all of this, Evangelista is teaching her son the concept of true beauty (in that physical appearance shouldn't sum up someone's worth) — even though it's a hard lesson learned in her eyes.
"It is very important for me to raise him knowing that he is beautiful and knowing that everyone is beautiful," she revealed. "It's so messed up that I truly believe that except it doesn't pertain to me."
See the full feature in the September issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday, August 23.