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"One of the reasons I wanted to come back is I got sick of seeing really ugly pictures of myself in the tabloids. I got to the point where I'd look in the mirror and say, Where'd she go? Because she's still in there.' I knew she was still in there (she laughs) and it didn't take much to get her out."

"I was a hoarder, and I got rid of everything. Now nothing comes in my home unless it has a purpose. And decor is not a purpose. Home is New York apartment with a table, a bed and sofas. That's it. Everything else is gone."

"All I want to do is model. The reason I'm coming back is for the same reasons that I became a model initially. It's about the clothes and the creation of great pictures. I thought I was old and that I earned my retirement, and enough! It's not enough. I want more. And I'm lucky that I still have that option."

"Cooking is one of my favourite things - from going to the market, bringing the stuff home and preparing it, to cleaning the kitchen afterwards. I've lost my figure a few times. There have been moments when I've overeaten, for comfort. But with discipline and hard work, you can get your figure back."

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."

"I've learned to live in the moment, something I never used to do. I was always regretting the past, worrying about the future driven to go on working, taking every job. I took every job they threw at me because I thought this was going to be the last year. I grew up the day I gave up modeling (in 1998). I realized that what I wanted was a normal life and a routine. But then, after all the hard work and pressure -- listen, I used to take Concorde like people take the bus - I became really idle, and that didn't work for me, either."

"It was traditional (Italian), even old-fashioned. When I was a teenager, I had to choose whether to go out on a Friday or Saturday night. Never both. And we always had proper meals."

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

Steven Miesel