Linda Evangelista On Surviving Breast Cancer And More

Now “Steven and Linda,” as the pair are known throughout the fashion industry, are exploring their decade-long collaborations with a new book, Linda Evangelista Photographed by Steven Meisel, which Phaidon will publish in September. With an introduction by William Norwich and nearly 190 images—spanning almost 25 years, from 1987 to 2011—the volume illustrates the pair’s symbiosis in the context of fashion history. A preponderance of the images dates from the ’90s, that increasingly mythic decade that saw the rise of the supermodel and the reign of “the Trinity,” the glamorous triumvirate of which Evangelista—who reportedly has a net worth of $40 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth— was part, with Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell. Linda Evangelista Net Worth

Many of Meisel and Evangelista’s collaborations are seared into fashion-world memory: Besides adding to the canon of classic fashion photography, they seemed to dictate the zeitgeist. In just one of the countless stories they shot for Vogue and its international editions was “Makeover Madness,” a prescient 70-page story focusing on plastic surgery that appeared in Vogue Italia’s July 2005 issue. Their influential ad campaigns included an oft-referenced minimalist shoot for maximalist brand Dolce & Gabbana and a madcap series for Barneys New York in the early ’90s showing a flame-haired Evangelista as the spunky heiress to Lucille Ball.


Over the years, Meisel has remained as in-demand as ever—he has shot recent campaigns for brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino—yet outside of work, he seems ever more reclusive. Rarely seen, he’s become a Garbo-like character. Last November, when an exhibition of Meisel’s work opened—a rarity in itself—some 100 guests made the trek to northern Spain to attend its vernissage, including many of his closest collaborators and models, Campbell and Turlington among them. But the artist was not present. (For this rare press interview, and his first-ever with Evangelista, he has agreed to a voice-only Zoom session, from his studio in Manhattan’s SoHo.)

And Evangelista, now 58, disappeared around 2016 from fashion magazines. Five years later, she announced the reason: CoolSculpting, the popular FDA-approved “fat-freezing” procedure, had left her “permanently deformed” and “brutally disfigured,” as she wrote in a statement on Instagram. Her face, her thighs and her abdomen were all affected. Linda Evangelista Net Worth

A week or so after our conversation, on a Saturday afternoon, Evangelista strides into a lounge in her apartment building—a deluxe tower recently erected on Manhattan’s far West Side. Ensconcing herself on a banquette, she is wearing a loose black anorak by 6397, with her delicate feet in The Row slippers. Her face is fuller now than in the early days but still radiant. And her hair—it’s dark brown, short and quite curly, soft like a child’s.

“This is all new hair,” she says. “It came back very dark. It’s even curlier than it used to be. The first time, I lost all the hair on top of my head, like my grandfather did.” When Evangelista gets to the word chemo it becomes apparent that her ordeal with CoolSculpting was the lesser of her troubles these past few years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2018, which she is revealing publicly for the first time now.

Here are a few things Linda Evangelista and Steven Meisel revealed to WSJ. Magazine…

Meisel on their collaboration:

“It’s like Marlene Dietrich and [the director Josef] von Sternberg,” says Meisel. “You’re creating together—it’s never a solo act.”

Meisel on meeting Evangelista for the first time:

“She just sparkled,” Meisel remembers.

Meisel on rarely focusing on the past:

“It’s only recently that I have even looked at [my] old pictures,” says the photographer, whose only previous mass-market book was another collaboration—the era-defining Sex, which he and Madonna published in 1992 (art-directed by Fabien Baron).

Meisel and Evangelista on deciding to do the book now:

“I just did [the new book] because Linda asked,” he says about his first retrospective monograph.

“And he said yes!” she chimes in. “There was no long, in-depth conversation…. We went to work… Dare I say, I was kind of easy,” she adds. (Evangelista says she is still deciding on a breast-cancer research organization where she will donate her book proceeds.) Linda Evangelista Net Worth

“It was the right time,” Meisel says. Choosing which photos to use was surprisingly easy. “We agreed—” she starts a sentence. And he finishes it: “Ninety-nine percent of the time.”

Evangelista on her breast cancer battle:


“I’ve kept it quiet. Only a handful of people knew. And I’m just not one of those people who has to share everything,” she says. “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.’ ”

Evangelista on hair growth after second time undergoing chemotherapy:

“This is all new hair,” she says. “It came back very dark. It’s even curlier than it used to be. The first time, I lost all the hair on top of my head, like my grandfather did.”

Evangelista on her first breast cancer diagnosis in 2018:

“It was detected in my annual mammogram,” she says. “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. Thinking I was good and set for life. Breast cancer was not going to kill me.”

Evangelista on her reaction to a second breast cancer diagnosis last July:

“Dig a hole in my chest,” she told him. “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.”

Evangelista on tackling her treatment:

“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 on her prognosis:

Recently, she’s been told by her post–cancer care oncologist that her prognosis is good. It’s not quite the answer she was hoping to hear. “Not ‘great’? Why isn’t it great?” she asked. “Well, once it’s come back, there’s a chance,” she says the doctor told her. With what she describes as “a horrible oncotype score,” a number that represents the recurrence risk of cancer, Evangelista says her future is uncertain, which makes every day precious. “I know I have one foot in the grave, but I’m totally in celebration mode.”

Evangelista on whether she feels she did anything wrong in choosing to undergo CoolSculpting treatments that reportedly left her “horribly disfigured”:

“I did,” she says. “I took a drink of the magic potion.”

“I love that movie,” she adds, referring to Death Becomes Her, the 1992 black comedy, starring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, in which a potion promising eternal youth wreaks havoc.

“I said to myself, Would I drink the magic potion?” she continues. “Of course I would.”

After the CoolSculpting commercials on television “got to my head,” she succumbed to the temptation. “It just backfired on me,” she says.

Evangelista on her son, Augustin James Evangelista Pinault, who will turn 17 in October:

“He loves sports. We love going to games. You name it,” she says, listing some of his preferred teams, which include the Carolina Panthers (“Our favorite is American football; we’re crazy about it”).

“We travel to a lot of games as we enjoy it so much, and I was secure for many years knowing I wouldn’t be recognized.” Linda Evangelista Net Worth

Evangelista on Salma Hayek, Augie’s step-mother, wife to Augustin’s father, François-Henri Pinault:

“I love that woman. She’s a woman’s woman. Just like me, [she’s] so family oriented, and so positive. She’s a blessing to us… She was very, very generous and kind to me while I was going through my chemo.”

Hairstylist Garren on Evangelista’s only concern upon learning of her diagnosis:

“When this happened to her, it was just devastating,” Garren says “She basically said, ‘If I didn’t have my son, I don’t know what I would have done. I have to be there for my son.’ ”

Evangelista on her standing ovation-worthy finale appearance in Fendi’s star-studded baguette 25th anniversary celebration last year:

Online, some predictably snarky comments soon appeared, Evangelista recalls:“Like,‘What’s she hiding under that dress?’ ” Today, she can laugh about that. “If they only knew—my [post-surgical] drainage tubes had just been pulled,” she says.

Meisel and Evangelista on their friendship:

When Linda comes over, they do “normal stuff,” she says, like watching TV, awards shows being among their preferred viewing. Linda learned to cook from her Italian mother, grandmother and aunts, and enjoys cooking seasonal dishes.

“Not that I was ever aware,” Meisel says archly. “The other night, she came over for dinner and we ordered in…. She says she’s a good cook…but I don’t know that.”

“I’m a great cook! You eat my food,” she counters.

The pair continue to press their points before he abruptly ends the discussion: “Fine, she’s a great cook.”

Designer Anna Sui on Linda and Steven:

“The two of them did their best work together…. There was really just such magic going on between them. She is such a perfectionist. She pushes herself so hard. I think that was what made her and Steven’s relationship so incredible—she [worked so hard] to capture that mood that Steven was trying to evoke each time.”

Art Director Fabien Baron on Linda and Steven:

“He is fashion,” says art director Fabien Baron. “Steven Meisel has that extra thing… that maybe only [Richard] Avedon and [Irving] Penn had, a knowledge of craft and a knowledge of how to push and to push as far as you can. Right on the verge of, the thing’s going to crack. “She understands what he is looking for. ‘OK, you want to go there?’ ” he adds. Linda Evangelista Net Worth

Read full article here.

Photos: Steven Meisel for WSJ. Magazine.

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