We never really consider getting older until the maps of maturity are etched in places that are visible. As young girls, we are taught to too early about the currency of our beauty, either through critical lenses of society or cultural bibles like fashion magazines depicting splashy pages of assigned perfection.
One of the most prominent faces in the fashion world, Linda Evangelista, who once famously adorned the pages of countless magazines as the darling of an industry renowned for its endorsement of unattainable beauty standards, is coming out of five years of hiding to share photos and gut-wrenching testimony about the high price of her anti-aging remedy.
“I loved being up on the catwalk. Now I dread running into someone I know,” she told PEOPLE magazine. “I can’t live like this anymore, in hiding and shame. I just couldn’t live in this pain any longer. I’m willing to finally speak.”
About a year ago, after a marked absence from the fashion scene, Evangelista released a stunning statement on Instagram hinting at her troubles that began with a visit to her dermatologist office in 2015, where she underwent a popular “fat-freezing” procedure known as CoolSculpting.
Now, the 56-year-old fashion icon is still battling the mental and physical scars from what seemed like routine sessions to slim her body. The pressure of having been one of the world’s most photographed women undoubtedly encouraged Evangelista’s decision to experiment with a procedure that produces drastic results, and now she says her body is “permanently deformed” and “brutally disfigured” by massive visible lumps of hardened and enlarged fatty tissue. She can’t even put her arms down flat to her sides. “Why do we feel the need to do these things [to our bodies]?” a tearful Evangelista said in the interview. “I always knew I would age. And I know that there are things a body goes through. But I just didn’t think I would look like this.”
We can’t blame a former supermodel, whose entire livelihood depended upon being hot, for wanting to fight off the curse of aging and hold onto what she’s got for dear life. Getting older as a celebrated beauty in full view of the world after being documented during the best years of your life has to be quite the daunting task. And the age of social media not only adds a level of cruelty that’s consistently vile, but it constantly shows us photoshopped, filtered, unattainable photos of what other people supposedly look like.
“It Girl” of the eighties, Paulina Porizkova, 56, has been doing the Lord’s work when it comes to unapologetically owning her maturity, to the chagrin of bitter trolls who target her. But Porizkova also admits the difficulty of constantly having to make a strong case for “women of a certain age” still being able to feel seen in a society that only really rewards youth.
Aging is a blessing, but it’s not for the faint of heart. We applaud Evangelista for her honesty and wish her all the healing and happiness.