Linda Evangelista was one of the most iconic supermodels of the 1990s. At the height of her career, she graced runways alongside the likes of Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. But she has remained quite private over the last few years, and now she’s revealing why.
The supermodel shared a message on Instagram today explaining that she suffered a botched cosmetic procedure that left her “permanently deformed.” Since then, she wrote, she has dealt with the emotional turmoil and depression that have come with no longer recognizing the woman she sees in the mirror.
“Today I took a big step towards righting a wrong that I have suffered and have kept to myself for over five years. To my followers who have wondered why I have not been working while my peers’ careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised,” Evangelista wrote.
Related article: In Photos: Linda Evangelista’s Most Iconic Runway Moments
The supermodel alleged that the botched procedure “increased” rather than “decreased” her fat cells, causing permanent changes “even after two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries.” Because she no longer looks like herself, she said, she is now unable to work.
She also explained that she was not informed of any possible side effects from the procedure, including paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, or PAH, the rare adverse effect from which she suffers.
Related article: The 20 Top Supermodels That Dominated Fashion In The ’80s
“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,” the model wrote. “In the process, I have become a recluse.”
Evangelista ended her message by stating that she is planning to take legal action against Zeltiq.
“With this lawsuit, I am moving forward to rid myself of my shame, and going public with my story. I am so tired of living this way,” she shared. “I would like to walk out my door with my head high, despite not looking like myself any longer.”
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US