As a supermodel watcher and superfan, I’ve wondered what happened to my all-time favorite, Linda Evangelista. Back when I was a young thing in New York City, I had many gigs to pay the bills, and one of them was coat check at a big midtown club. Linda came in once and gave me her coat, and her beauty was transcendent and otherworldly. It was one of the most significant fan girl moments of my life.
Cut to now, where Linda’s contemporaries like Amber, Shalom, Kristen, Naomi, and Kate are enjoying a true renaissance, as I mentioned in this week’s post. But where oh where did my Linda go?
We got that answer this week.
Because Linda, who is now 56, announced her absence from the public eye due to a horrible reaction to a CoolSculpting procedure, which has left her “permanently disfigured.” What a tragedy. And at a time when women of a certain age are redefining what it means not only to be a woman but to look like one, Linda’s tale is a cautionary one. Because just as we’re reading about the Paulinas of the world and how many women are giving in to gray hair as a carryover from the pandemic, many women are still trying to keep up with a society that is still unkind to women who don’t look 25.
As mentioned in the piece on The Cut, Linda “announced on Thursday that she plans to sue the company behind Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure, a non-invasive fat-reduction treatment frequently marketed as an alternative to liposuction. Evangelista wrote on Instagram that the procedure, which she had five years ago, left her “brutally disfigured,” sending her into “a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing.”
How tragic. And what a wake-up call to women and men who are looking to turn back time with procedures that may not be so safe after all. And in terms of depression, is it more depressing to forego procedures and feel endlessly invisible and frowned upon by society, or is it far worse to encounter depression from a procedure gone wrong?
Pressure to Look Younger
As one of the most famous faces of all time, your accurate equity is based on how you look; how can we encourage women to find value and self-worth beyond the needle or plastic surgeon’s office? A perceived loss of beauty because of aging is one thing but trying to look your best and ending up permanently looking your worst is something else entirely. And from the woman who once famously said she wouldn’t get out of bed for under $10,000 a day, you can’t put a price on your mental and physical health. I applaud her for coming forward and telling her story, and from the reaction of her supermodel contemporaries, so do they. Hopefully, her story will help others rethink what’s beautiful, and the pressure to chase an eternal fountain of youth may need to now come with a warning label.