- Gia Carangi
name = Gia Carangi
imagesize = 200px
birthname = Gia Marie Carangi
birthdate = birth date|1960|1|29|mf=y
deathdate = death date and age|1986|11|18|1960|1|29
height = 5'7" (170 cm)
haircolor = Brown
eyecolor = Brown
measurements = (US) 34-24-35
dress size = (US) 6
shoesize = (US) 8
Gia Marie Carangi (
January 29, 1960– November 18, 1986) was an American fashion model during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carangi, who was of Italian, Welsh and Irish ancestry, was considered by some to be the first supermodel,cite web |url=http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article311535.ece |title= Gia: The tragic tale of the world's first supermodel |first=Paul |last=Vallely |date= 2005-09-10|accessdate=2007-05-28 |work= The Independent] [cite web
last = Carolin
first = Louise
title = Gia - the tragedy of a lesbian supermodel
work = Diva
url = http://www.divamag.co.uk/diva/features.asp?AID=2076
accessdate =2008-01-17 ] although that title has also been given to others including
last = Weller
first = Krysten
title = No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel
The Michigan Times
date = 2003-05-16
accessdate =2008-01-17 ] and
Dorian Leigh. [cite book
last = Gross
first = Michael
title = Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women
date = 2003
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=71PkGwAACAAJ&d
isbn =0060541636 ]
Cindy Crawford, who also appeared on the covers of several fashion publications during her time, was later referred to as "Baby Gia", due to her resemblance to Carangi.cite web |url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000340/bio |title=Biography for Cindy Crawford (I) |work= IMDB.com|accessdate=2007-05-28] Carangi was also the first to present unusual poses, facial expressions and gestures. She is credited by many at the upper echelons of fashion to have created a new style of modeling, emulated by models since then to the present.
Carangi was featured on the cover of many
fashion magazines, including "Vogue", April 1 1979; "Vogue Paris", April 1979; "American Vogue", August 1980; "Vogue Paris", August 1980; "Italian Vogue", January 1981; and several issues of "Cosmopolitan" between 1979 and 1982.
After becoming addicted to
heroin, Carangi's modeling career rapidly declined. She later became infected with HIVand died at the age of 26. Her death was not widely publicized and few people in the fashion industry knew of it. Carangi is thought to be one of the first famous women to die of AIDS. Her father is Italian American, and her mother is American of Irish and Welsh ancestry.
Carangi, who was known in modeling circles just by her first name, had a turbulent childhood. Her parents fought frequently, and she was given little attention.
Carangi moved from
Philadelphiato New York Cityat the age of 17, and quickly rose to prominence. She was the favorite model of many eminent fashion photographers, including Francesco Scavullo, Arthur Elgort, Richard Avedon, and Chris von Wangenheim, and she posed for photos in many countries. Her sexual orientationhas been disputed: while some think she was completely lesbian, others point to the fact she had relationships with men and call her bisexual.
Carangi was swept right into the
fashionworld. She was a hit with prominent photographers, most notably Scavullo.cite web |url=http://www.glbtq.com/arts/scavullo_f.html |title=Scavullo, Francesco (1929-2004) |last=Rapp |first=Linda |date= 2005-04-17|work= glbtq.com|accessdate=2007-05-28] By the end of 1978, Carangi was already a well-established model.
Carangi was a regular at
Studio 54and the Mudd Club.cite web |url=http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/bioc1/cara3.html |title=Gia Marie Carangi |date= 2005-03-28|accessdate=2007-05-28] Carangi usually used cocainein clubs but later began to develop a heroin addiction.cite web |url=http://www.thegiacarangiproject.com/bio_main.html |title=Gia Carangi: A Biography |accessdate=2007-05-28]
In October 1978, Carangi did her first major shoot with top fashion photographer
Chris von Wangenheim. Wangenheim had her pose nude behind a chain-link fence with makeup assistant Sandy Linter. Carangi immediately became infatuated with Linter and started to pursue her, though the relationship never became stable.cite web |url=http://www.afterellen.com/archive/ellen/column/2005/12/backintheday.html |title=Back in the Day: Out on the Catwalk |first=Malinda |last=Lo |date= 2005-12-13|accessdate=2007-05-28 |work= AfterEllen.com]
March 1, 1980, Carangi's agent, Wilhelmina Cooper, died of lung cancer. Devastated, Carangi started abusing drugs. [cite book|last=Fried|first=Stephen |title=Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia|publisher=Pocket Books|date=1994|pages=232, 234|isbn=0-671-70105-3] Scavullo recalled a fashion shoot in the Caribbeanwhen "She was crying, she couldn't find her drugs. I literally had to lay her down on her bed until she fell asleep."citequoteBy 1980, Carangi began having violent temper tantrums, walking out of photo shoots, and even falling asleep in front of the camera. In the November 1980 issue of "Vogue", Carangi's track marks from shooting heroinwere visible even after airbrushing. [cite book|last=Pollock|first=Griselda |coauthors=Bal, Mieke|title=Conceptual Odysseys: Passages to Cultural Analysis|publisher=I.B.Tauris|date=2008|pages=97|isbn=1-845-11523-6] For three weeks, she was signed with Eileen Ford, who soon dropped her.
In 1981, Carangi enrolled in a 21-day detox program, and started dating a college student, Elyssa Golden. The Carangi family, along with her mother, had suspected that Golden had a drug problem. Carangi soon began using again. She moved out of her mother's house and in with some friends, once again entering a detox program.
Her attempt to quit drugs was shattered when she learned that her good friend and fashion photographer Chris von Wangenheim died in a car accident. According to the Stephen Fried book, "Thing of Beauty", Carangi locked herself in a bathroom for hours, shooting heroin. In the fall of 1981, she looked far different from the top model she once had been. However, she was still determined to make a comeback in the fashion industry. She contacted Monique Pillard (who was largely responsible for Janice Dickinson's career), who was hesitant to sign her.
For her second time, Carangi received the harsh treatment she skipped last time. Nobody would book her. Desperate, she turned to Scavullo. She landed a "Cosmopolitan" cover, a gift from Scavullo. Shot in the winter of 1982, it would be her last cover.
West Germany, a budding fashion industry was being created. Although seen as tacky by the designers from New York, Parisand Milan, the Germans were willing to pay 10,000 marks a week to shoot Carangi abroad. However, no one in the States would book her. In the spring of 1983, she was caught with drugs in a shoot in Africa. Her career was over.
After pressure from her family she entered a drug-rehabilitation program again at Eagleville Hospital. After six months, she was released from the program and moved back to Philadelphia, where she seemed to be getting her life back on track. She started taking classes in
photographyand cinematography. But, three months later, she had vanished once again, and had returned to Atlantic City, and started shooting heroin again and was raped. She soon became sick with pneumonia, and her mother came and checked her into a hospital in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Carangi was diagnosed with
AIDS, then a newly recognized disease. As her condition worsened, she was transferred to Philadelphia's Hahnemann University Hospital. Her mother stayed with her day and night, allowing virtually no visitors.
November 18, 1986at 10 a.m., Carangi died of AIDS-related complications. She was 26 years old. [cite book|last=Fried|first=Stephen |title=Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia|publisher=Pocket Books|date=1994|pages=387|isbn=0-671-70105-3]
Her funeral was held on November 21 at a small funeral home in Philadelphia. Nobody from the fashion world attended. However, weeks later, Scavullo sent a Mass card when he heard the news. [cite book|last=Fried|first=Stephen |title=Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia|publisher=Pocket Books|date=1994|pages=389, 390|isbn=0-671-70105-3]
A biography of Carangi by Stephen Fried called "Thing of Beauty" (a title omitting the second half of
John Keats' famous quote "A thing of beauty is a joy forever") was published in 1993. A biographical film, " Gia", debuted on HBO in 1998. Angelina Joliestarred in the title role, garnering a Golden Globeaward for the role.
In 1996, actress-screenwriter Zoë Tamerlis, herself a heroin addict who died of drug-related causes in 1999, was commissioned to write a screenplay based upon Carangi's life. This version of "Gia" was not produced, but after Tamerlis' death, footage of Carangi, Tamerlis, photographers, Carangi's family, and Sandy Linter discussing her life was incorporated into a 2003 documentary entitled "
The Self-Destruction of Gia".
Designers and cosmetic firms she represented
Diane von Fürstenberg
* Yves Saint Laurent
*fashionmodel |id=Gia+Marie_Carangi|name=Gia Carangi
*imdb name|id=1817020|name=Gia Carangi
*Find A Grave|id=5311
NAME = Carangi, Gia
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Carangi, Gia Marie
SHORT DESCRIPTION = American
DATE OF BIRTH = birth date|1960|1|29|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH = death date|1986|11|18|mf=y
PLACE OF DEATH =
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.