NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 17: Linda Evangelista, Co-Chair of the Fragrance Foundation Awards attends the 2015 Fragrance Foundation Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 17, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Fragrance Foundation)

After five years of silence, supermodel Linda Evangelista, who was one of the industry’s most sought after faces in the ’90s and early aughts, has opened up about why she suddenly disappeared from the fashion industry and became, as she says “the media has described it, unrecognisable.” 

In a post on Instagram, Evangelista wrote to her audience of just under one million, saying she wanted to address why she has not been working “while my peers’ careers have been thriving.” Evangelista went on to allege that she was “brutally disfigured” five years ago due to complications from a cosmetic treatment. 

After having a procedure known as “CoolSculpting” (which involves “freezing” fat on the body to increase weight loss), the 56-year-old says she developed a condition called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia. Evangelista wrote that the procedure allegedly “increased, not decreased” her fat cells, allegedly causing her to be “permanently deformed even after two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries.”

“[It] has not only destroyed my livelihood, it has sent me into a cycle or deep depression, profound sadness and the lowest depths of self-loathing,” she wrote. “In the process, I have become a recluse.”

Evangelista has now filed a lawsuit against Zeltiq Aesthetics — the parent company of CoolSculpting, writing, “Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years.”

linda evangelista
PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY: Linda Evangelista walks the runway during the Chanel Haute Couture show as part of Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 1992-1993 in January, 1992 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

In the comments of her post, members of the fashion community and Evangelista’s fellow ’90s Supers showed support for her. “You are and always will be a supermodel,” wrote Moschino designer Jeremy Scott. Marc Jacobs added: “I love you dear Linda.” While Naomi Campbell wrote, “I applaud you for your courage and strength to share your experience and not be held hostage by it any more. I can’t image the pain you (have) gone through mentally these past 5 years.”

PARIS, FRANCE – CIRCA 1989: Linda Evangelista at the Azzedine Alaia Spring 1990 show circa 1989 in Paris, France. (Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)

But perhaps January Jones put it best: “Love that you’re reclaiming your story. This strength and bravery supersedes any superficial outward appearance. An icon is an icon is an icon. Always❤️.”