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Linda Evangelista returns to modeling for first time since procedure she says disfigured her

The famed supermodel spent years away from the spotlight.
/ Source: TODAY

After a long hiatus, supermodel Linda Evangelista is returning to the runway.

Evangelista, 57, posted on Instagram that she will be walking in a "special fashion show" for the fashion house Fendi in September 2022. The show will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic Fendi baguette bag. She also shared a new photo from part of the campaign that will accompany the special presentation.

While Evangelista said little about how she felt about returning to the career that made her a star, fans and fellow creatives filled the comments with messages of joy and support.

"Internet broken," wrote stylist Jimmy Paul, alongside a series of heart emojis.

"Wish I could be there! Sending so much LOVE," added actor and Madonna's best friend Debi Mazar.

Another said, "And the fashion galaxy and me are grateful you’re BACK LILLI!"

This appears to be Evangelista's first foray into modeling since she said that a cosmetic procedure left her "brutally disfigured." In 2021, she wrote on Instagram that a CoolSculpting procedure had "increased ... (her) fat cells" instead of decreasing them, leaving her "permanently deformed" and "unrecognizable" even after two corrective surgeries.

Evangelista said she also developed paradoxical adipose hyperplasia — which the American Society of Plastic Surgeons describes as “an unexpected increase in the number of fat cells” that can sometimes develop after the procedure — which “destroyed (her) livelihood" and "sent (her) into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness and the lowest depths of self-loathing.”

Last year, Evangelista filed a $50 million lawsuit against Zeltiq Aesthetics, the company who performed the procedure, alleging severe and permanent personal injuries. It's unclear where things stand with the suit today.

"With this lawsuit, I am moving forward to rid myself of my shame, and going public with my story," she wrote at the time. "I'm so tired of living this way. I would like to walk out the door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer."

In February, Zeltiq Aesthetics declined comment to TODAY about Evangelista’s lawsuit, citing ongoing litigation, but said in a statement that CoolSculpting “has been well studied with more than 100 scientific publications and more than 11 million treatments performed worldwide.”

In a revealing cover story with People magazine at that time, Evangelista said the "fear and shame" of the procedure's effects sent her into seclusion for almost five years. In her Instagram post, she described herself as "a recluse."

“I loved being up on the catwalk. Now I dread running into someone I know,” she told People. “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.”