Supermodel Linda Evangelista filed a lawsuit alleging that a fat-freezing procedure left her permanently disfigured and ruined her career.
"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' career have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq's CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised," she wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday.
The lawsuit said Evangelista underwent seven treatments with Zeltiq's CoolSculpting between August 2015 and February 2016. The company, which is named as a defendant in the suit, advertised the procedure as a "no surgery, no anesthesia, no downtime alternative to liposuction surgery," according to the lawsuit.
The CoolSculpting process pulls skin between two paddles and cools it to below freezing for at least 30 minutes with a promise that the treated areas will become more contoured.
Evangelista got the procedure done "in hopes of contouring small areas of her body" but after the final round, she began to notice the treated areas were getting larger, the lawsuit stated.
Within months she developed "hard, bulging, painful masses under her skin in those areas," according to the suit.
The model underwent two corrective surgeries to try to fix the damage, but both were unsuccessful, the lawsuit said. As a result, Evangelista has not modeled since 2016 and suffers from severe pain, emotional distress and mental anguish, according to the lawsuit.
She is seeking $50 million in damages. Zeltiq did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Evangelista wrote in her Instagram post that the disfigurement caused by the procedures sent her "into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing."
"In the process, I have become a recluse," she said. "With this lawsuit, I am moving forward to rid myself of my shame, and going public with my story. I would like to walk out my door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer."