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Summer in Tokyo at 16 years old: "When I got there, I freaked out. It wasn't what they'd said it would be. They wanted nude and funny stuff. They asked me to strip to take my measurements, even though they had them already" Put up for the night in an apartment, she escaped and walked the streets, looking for a phone booth. When she told her parents that a man had helped her and she was phoning from his apartment, they went crazy. She returned home after a day and half. Even so, her mother let her have another try. When she finished school, Evangelista went to New York, on the condition that she would come home every weekend.

"One of my first jobs was in Italy and that's where I saw cocaine for the first time. There was a murder in our group that weekend. I decided then and there that I would never do drugs. I have anxiety attacks, so there's no way I could do them.

"How it's cut, who cut it, how it moves, the lining...I even like it when it's what I consider to be ugly."

"My first booker in Paris, at the very, very very beginning of my career, died of AIDS. It was the first time I had heard about AIDS. Everyone was still quite uncertain about what it was. It was still new. I remember visiting him up until his final days. I've had friends pass away from it, and friends of friends and colleagues, so I've been touched persoanlly and professionally. But really, I'm doing my part because I think it's a global issue. I think everybody has to do something. There is nothing beautiful about AIDS. We still live in a world where the stigma surrounding AIDS is truly ugly. I hope to make a difference."

"I'm certainly thinking of plastic surgery. I've already been botoxed, like many of the models. And I'm happy to admit it. If you don't tell, how do other women feel they have a chance when they see the pictures? Models are not superhuman. We grow old. I really want to grow old and I don't believe that age is ugly." 

"I think I will always have a place. I don't think I have to rule or reign but there's a place for me."

"In photos, I don't know who the real me is - it's all pretend, just pretend. There's not much of myself in my work. If I'm looking in the mirror and I'm working, I'm looking at my make-up and my hair. It's not the same as looking at myself."

"I love change, I really enjoy the new models, the new looks but I don't agree that they all need to be a certain size or age. Why can't someone new come along who's 25 or 30. Or 50? When I was young, you could open Vogue and see a range of body shapes. Now the whole editorial section is devoted toone body shape. Maybe that's one person's view. It's not mine."

"I used to look at magazines and I couldn't afford those clothes and I couldn't look like those women. And you know what I found out when I became a model? I still couldn't look like those women, because I'm retouched and I've had four hours of make-up and two hours of hair and I'm pinned and airbrushed and I'm holding a position that my body could never hold in real life and look natural. So even I could never look like myself." (And Linda is laughing when she says this).

"I accept that keeping in shape doesn't come naturally, so I work hard. I hit the gym every day: Pilates, yoga, weights. I used to love wine but I've stopped drinking. I quit smoking and I'll never start again."

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"She's legendary. There's not going to be many like her, ever."

Steven Miesel