Linda Evangelista says she wore face tape for her first British Vogue cover after a fat-freezing treatment left her 'brutally disfigured'

  • Linda Evangelista appeared on the September cover of British Vogue wearing face tape and elastic.

  • The 57-year-old model said she was left "brutally disfigured" by a cosmetic fat-freezing procedure.

  • Evangelista said that after hiding away for five years, "I'm trying to love myself as I am."

Linda Evangelista revealed that she wore face tape on the new September cover of British Vogue after she said a cosmetic procedure left her "brutally disfigured."

In an interview with British Vogue published Thursday, the 57-year-old Canadian model told fashion features director Sarah Harris that her magazine cover was enhanced.

"That's not my jaw and neck in real life — and I can't walk around with tape and elastics everywhere," Evangelista, one of the most recognizable models of the 1990s fashion industry, told Harris. She said that makeup artist Pat McGrath "gently" pulled her face, jaw, and neck back with tape and elastic.

The model was photographed by Steven Meisel wearing Chanel and Fendi, among other designers. Her hair and body were covered in every shot, leaving the focus on her face.

In an Instagram post from September 2021, Evangelista alleged that she was left "brutally disfigured" after undergoing the CoolSculpting cosmetic procedure, a less invasive alternative to liposuction. She said she developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, or PAH, an uncommon side effect where targeted fat cells swell instead of shrinking.

Evangelista told People in February 2022 she underwent seven sessions of CoolSculpting in a dermatologist's office between August 2015 and February 2016 before developing lumps of tissue around her chin, thighs, and chest that had grown, hardened, and become numb. She added that she has to walk with a girdle as the hardened fat will cause chafing to the point of almost bleeding.

At the time, a CoolSculpting representative told People that the procedure "has been well studied with more than 100 scientific publications and more than 11 million treatments performed worldwide," and said rare side effects "continue to be well-documented in the CoolSculpting information for patients and health care providers."

Insider's Anna Medaris previously reported that CoolSculpting is considered relatively safe.

"CoolSculpting is a Food and Drug Administration-cleared procedure that aims to kill fat cells through, essentially, frostbite," Medaris wrote, adding that, according to WebMD, "since fat freezes at a higher temperature than skin, cool paddles can be placed on the skin to destroy some of the fat beneath it without hurting the skin."

In her Instagram post from September 2021, Evangelista said she was "righting a wrong" by suing CoolSculpting's parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics, for $50 million in damages.

In July, both parties moved to dismiss the case, British Vogue reported.

Evangelista also shared her thoughts in an Instagram post on July 19. "I'm pleased to have settled the CoolSculpting case. I look forward to the next chapter of my life with friends and family, and am happy to put this matter behind me," she wrote, adding that she was grateful for the support she has received.

In a statement obtained by British Vogue, a Zeltiq Aesthetics representative said the company was pleased to have resolved the matter with Evangelista.

Still, Evangelista told British Vogue she doesn't feel she has "cured mentally" yet.

The supermodel said she still finds it difficult to look in the mirror or have people touch her body. She added that she has incisions and stitches all over her body from two attempts to correct the issue with liposuction, and said she wore compression garments and had her body tightly girdled for eight weeks to no avail.

Evangelista added that she was embarrassed she spent her money on the procedure and was so desperate to undo its damage that she even stopped eating. She said she only drank water and sometimes "would have a stick of celery or one apple," but the dangerous diet didn't help.

"I miss my work so much, but honestly, what can I do? It isn't going to be easy," she said. "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…"

"I'm trying to love myself as I am," Evangelista told Harris. She also said her insecurities were taken care of in the images due to the modifications McGrath made. This allowed her to keep doing what she loves: modeling.

Representatives for Linda Evangelista and Zeltiq Aesthetics did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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