Linda Evangelista has revealed that she was diagnosed with breast cancer twice within the last five years.
The model, 58, discussed the cancer diagnosis during a recent interview with WSJ Magazine while appearing on the cover of the publication’s Fall Men’s Style digital issue. During the interview, she shared that she first discovered she had breast cancer in 2018, as it was “detected in [her] annual mammogram”.
She also recalled how she then got a bilateral mastectomy, a surgery done to remove both breasts as a way to treat cancer, per American Cancer Society.
“The margins were not good, and due to other health factors, without hesitation, because I wanted to put everything behind me and not to have to deal with this, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy,” she said. “Thinking I was good and set for life. Breast cancer was not going to kill me.”
However, according to Evangelista, she then felt a bump on her chest in July 2022, which encouraged her to undergo an MRI. While she said her radiologist wasn’t initially concerned when she felt the bump, she noted that once the MRI was done, her doctor quickly ordered a biopsy.
“Oh, God, we’re going to biopsy something that’s ‘nothing?’” Evangelista recalled thinking.
She revealed that once the biopsy results were in, she discovered that she had cancer in her pectoral muscle. Evangelista added that when she received her second diagnosis, she wasn’t concerned about how surgeries to remove the cancer could impact her appearance.
“Dig a hole in my chest,” she recalled saying to her doctors. “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. Do you understand me? I’m not dying from this.”
The model went on to recall how her perspective changed when her cancer returned, adding: “I just went into this mode that I know how to do – just do what you’ve got to do and get through it. And that’s what I did.”
Evangelista also said that when her post-cancer care oncologist told her that her prognosis was good, she still went on to ask the doctor: “Why isn’t it great?”
“Well, once it’s come back, there’s a chance,” she said the oncologist responded to her, before adding that she was told “a horrible oncotype score,” which is a number that represents the recurrence risk of cancer.
As Evangelista expressed that her future is unclear, she said it has ultimately encouraged her to embrace everyday life. “I know I have one foot in the grave, but I’m totally in celebration mode,” she said.
The fashion model also addressed why she’s kept “quiet” about her cancer diagnosis for so long.
“Only a handful of people knew. And I’m just not one of those people who has to share everything,”she said. “I thought to myself, I will share this one day but while I am going through it, absolutely not. I don’t want the Daily Mail waiting outside my door like they do every time something happens. ‘Linda seen for the first time since blah blah blah.’”
Elsewhere in her interview with WSJ Magazine, she recalled how she first tried a CoolSculpting procedure in September 2021, and detailed how it allegedly left her with series of rare side effects, including an increase in “fat cells” that left her “permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries”. As noted by CoolSculpting’s official website, the procedure is a brand name for the fat-freezing process cryolipolysis.
Following the 2021 procedure, the supermodel filed a lawsuit against Zeltiq, the company which markets CoolSculpting for $50m in damages. While the lawsuit wa settled in July 2022, the terms of the settlement are unclear.
Speaking to WSJ Magazine, Evangelista poked fun at her decision to get the procedure. When asked if she did anything wrong by trying CoolSculpting, she said: “I did. I took a drink of the magic potion.”
She also quipped about how she loved the 1992 movie Death Becomes Her, where things went wrong for Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn’s characters when they took a potion that promised they’d look young forever.
“I said to myself, Would I drink the magic potion?” she continued. “Of course I would.”
This isn’t Evangelista’s first time speaking candidly about the effects of CoolSculpting. During an interview with British Vogue in September 2022, she opened up about her decision to undergo the surgery in the first place, explaining that it came after she’d seen countless commercials about the cosmetic procedure
“Those CoolSculpting commercials were on all the time, on CNN, on MSNBC, over and over, and they would ask: ‘Do you like what you see in the mirror?’ They were speaking to me. It was about stubborn fat in areas that wouldn’t budge. It said no downtime, no surgery and… I drank the magic potion, and I would because I’m a little vain,” she said. “So I went for it – and it backfired.”