Linda Evangelista, the supermodel made famous in the 1990s, revealed in an interview that she survived breast cancer twice in five years.
The fashion photographer described her diagnoses and multiple health challenges in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Magazine that was published on Tuesday.
Ms. Evangelista, 58, said she was first diagnosed in 2018 after an annual mammogram. The magazine noted that it was the first time she had spoken publicly about her cancer.
Ms. Evangelista did not immediately respond for comment on Tuesday.
In response to her diagnosis, she said, she chose to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, “thinking I was good and set for life. Breast cancer was not going to kill me.”
However, four years later, in 2022, she learned that the cancer had returned, this time in her pectoral muscle.
She recalled telling her surgeon, “Dig a hole in my chest.”
“I don’t want it to look pretty. I want you to excavate. I want to see a hole in my chest when you’re done,” she had said to her doctors. “Do you understand me? I’m not dying from this.”
After a second surgical procedure, Ms. Evangelista in the interview described her current prognosis as “good,” as told by her post-cancer care oncologist.
However, she said, her doctor had given her a “horrible oncotype score,” a number that represents the risk of cancer recurrence.
Still, she said, the uncertainty has made her days more valuable.
“I know I have one foot in the grave, but I’m totally in celebration mode,” she said.
Breast cancer diagnoses have not been the only health issues for Ms. Evangelista in recent years.
Two years ago in an Instagram post, she revealed that side effects from CoolSculpting, a “fat-freezing” procedure, had left her “permanently deformed” and “brutally disfigured” as she had developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia, an effect in which firm tissue masses develop in the treatment areas.
The condition, she said, caused her to become depressed and reclusive after “not looking like myself any longer.”
She subsequently sued Zeltiq Aesthetics, the company behind the procedure, for $50 million and settled in July 2022 for an undisclosed amount.
Ms. Evangelista was one of the top five supermodels in the world in the 1990s, and she has continued to work and has stepped back into the spotlight since her CoolSculpting procedures and side effects.
In 2022, she appeared on the cover of British Vogue, and beginning on Sept. 20, she will appear in a new Apple TV+ documentary, “The Super Models.” The project will reunite her with other 90s-era supermodels including Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. In 1990, the four women famously appeared lip-syncing the lyrics in the George Michael video, “Freedom! ’90.”
Johnny Diaz is a general assignment reporter covering breaking news. He previously worked for the South Florida Sun Sentinel and The Boston Globe. More about Johnny Diaz
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