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Supermodel Linda Evangelista’s comeback on the cover of US and British Vogue’s September issues is more than a professional triumph, it’s a personal milestone following revelations that she was diagnosed with breast cancer twice in five years.

In the men’s issue of the Wall Street Journal magazine, Evangelista, 58 said that she received her first breast cancer diagnosis in 2018.

Linda Evangelista appears on the runway following the Fendi presentation during New York Fashion Week in September 2022, following her second breast cancer diagnosis in July.Credit: Getty

“It was detected in my annual mammogram,” Evangelista told WSJ. “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.”

In July last year it was confirmed that the cancer had returned after Evangelista detected a lump. The determined Canadian, who has appeared on more than 700 magazine covers, advised her oncologist to take drastic action.

“Dig a hole in my chest,” Evangelista said. “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.”

“I just went into this mode that I know how to do – just do what you’ve got to do and get through it.”

Evangelista’s candid revelations make the latest Vogue cover, where she appears alongside Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, even more poignant. The cover is a reunion of the models who rose to stardom following George Michael’s music video for the anthem Freedom! ’90. Missing from the recreated cover was German supermodel Tatjana Patitz who died of breast cancer last year, aged 56.

The September issue of US ‘Vogue’ with supermodels Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell; Tatjana Patitz (centre) photographed by Peter Lindbergh alongside Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford for the January 1990 issue of British ‘Vogue’.

Commemorating Patitz’s birthday in May, Evangelista posted to her Instagram account: “I still have not come to terms with your passing. You will be forever loved, forever missed and forever in my heart.”

Evangelista – who once proclaimed she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 – is now just happy to face each new day. In the interview, she said her future is uncertain, despite encouraging news from her post-cancer care oncologist.

“I know I have one foot in the grave, but I’m totally in celebration mode,” she said.

Cancer is not the only reason Evangelista remained out of the spotlight while Campbell, Crawford and Turlington continued to appear in luxury advertising campaigns and on the runway.

In July 2022, Evangelista settled with Zeltiq Aesthetics, after suing them for $US50 million ($78.4 million) following a CoolSculpting treatment. On Instagram in 2021 the model claimed that she had been left “permanently deformed” and “brutally disfigured” following a “fat freezing treatment”.

Now Evangelista is confidently taking centre stage, promoting the Apple TV+ documentary The Super Models, screening on September 20. She has also released a coffee table book Linda Evangelista Photographed by Steven Meisel with photographer Steven Meisel, who captured her for the WSJ cover, entangled in sheets wearing a black jumper.

“I’ve come through some horrible health issues. I’m at a place where I’m so happy celebrating my book, my life. I’m so happy to be alive. Anything that comes now is bonus.”

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