in Philadelphia. [9][10], A regular at Studio 54 and the Mudd Club,[11] Carangi usually used cocaine in clubs. Gia Marie Carangi (January 29, 1960 – November 18, 1986) was an American model during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In fact, people thought lesbians or queer women didn't contract HIV -- and it's well known that Carangi primarily dated and pursued relationships with women. By then, she was heavily addicted to heroin, and her hands had blisters and sores from the punctures from the needles she would use. [3] One of Carangi's friends later spoke of her "tomboy persona", describing her relaxed openness about her sexuality as reminiscent of the character Cay in the 1985 film Desert Hearts. Carangi's final photo shoot was for German mail-order clothing company Otto Versand in Tunisia;[23] she was sent home during the shoot for using heroin. Her experiences with addiction are not that different from other people's stories, but her addiction was likely amplified due to the fact that she had access to money and celebrity that made it easier to get lots of drugs, for a time. Her two brothers, both older than her, moved out and lived with their mom while Carangi stayed … [3] Those who knew her blamed her "fractured childhood" for the instability and drug dependence that plagued her adult life. A biography of Carangi by Sacha Lanvin Baumann titled Born This Way: Friends, Colleagues, and Coworkers Recall Gia Carangi, the Supermodel Who Defined an Era was published in 2015. One name, three letters: Gia. So people like Carangi, who could potentially have been kept safe by knowing about the risk of sharing needles, were put at risk due to federal policies more than their own undoing. Though she associated with the lesbian community, she did not want to take up "the accepted lesbian style. Gia Marie Carangi was born on Jan. 29, 1960 in Philadelphia to an Italian-American father, Joseph, who owned a tiny restaurant called Hoagie City. Gia was born on January 29, 1960. there’s a lot more to being a woman than that. By late 1985, she had begun using drugs again and was engaging in prostitution in Atlantic City. Gia Marie Carangi[1] (January 29, 1960 – November 18, 1986) was an American model during the late 1970s and early 1980s. [3][4] Sean Byrnes, Scavullo's long-time assistant, later said, "What she was doing to herself finally became apparent in her pictures. Her mother, Kathleen Carangi, was a homemaker.Carangi’s parents separated in 1971. [3] During this time, she also appeared in the Blondie music video for "Atomic". Her parents were Joseph Carangi and Kathleen Carangi; she was the youngest of three children. Those close to Carangi, including herself, have admitted that this divorce had a lasting impact on her attitude. [3] Carangi and her "bi-try Bowie-mad" friends hung out in Philadelphia's gay clubs and bars. You think, God, she didn't need drugs -- she was a drug.". Jolie won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance, among other accolades. After her release, Carangi briefly signed with a new agency, Legends, and worked sporadically, mainly in Europe. Hear Gia's Philly accent. Scavullo photographed her for the April 1982 cover of Cosmopolitan, her last cover appearance for an American magazine. Despite airbrushing, some of the photos, as published in the November 1980 issue, reportedly still showed visible needle marks. Joseph and Kathleen had an unstable, violent marriage, ultimately leading Kathleen to abandon the family when Carangi was eleven years old. Gia's posthumous exposure and popularity rises every day. No one from the fashion world attended. Modeling offers soon ceased and her fashion industry friends, including Sandy Linter, refused to speak to her, fearing their association with her would harm their careers. A few days later, she was diagnosed with AIDS-related complex. In the 1970s and '80s, injection drug use was still a major driver of HIV rates (before efforts to create syringe exchange programs and education programs for drug users). Experience what is was like in Gia’s world by discovering the music that influenced her, the New York scene she frequented, the industry that crushed her, the drugs that numbed her. [30] Carangi died of AIDS-related complications on November 18, 1986, at the age of 26,[31] becoming one of the first famous women to die of the disease. According to Scavullo," there was something she had … no other girl [had] it.". And the role the federal government played in refusing to spend funds for programs to keep drug users from contracting HIV can't be overstated. Everyone loved her look so much that they gladly saw me. Giuli is an award-winning writer and law student, located in New Orleans. But by the time she was 17 years old, Gia was a force to be reckoned with. Gia Carangi appeared in a only a few dozen magazines worldwide, all of which are 30+ years old. In an attempt to quit drugs, she moved back to Philadelphia with her mother and stepfather in February 1981. After she became addicted to heroin, Carangi's modeling career rapidly declined. Scavullo says he had to hide her hands with a big, puffy dress and photograph her at an angle where her body parts would not show as much as her face would. Like many people who become addicted to drugs, many of her friends and colleagues say that it was the early trauma Carangi experienced that fueled her depression and use. He hired her for the fashion house's next campaign, but during the photo shoot, in late 1982, Carangi became uncomfortable and left before any usable shots of her were taken. [3] However, weeks later, Francesco Scavullo, Carangi's friend and confidant, sent a Mass card[clarification needed] when he heard the news. Sondra Scerca, as noted in BTW took Gia to Wilhelmina, is writing a soon to be released memoir GIA, WILLY and ME. Of her quick rise to prominence, described by Vogue as "meteoric",[5] Carangi later said, "I started working with very good people, I mean all the time, very fast. © 2020 Remedy Health Media, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, https://www.thebody.com/article/remembering-gia-carangi. [3] While attending Abraham Lincoln High School, Carangi bonded with "the Bowie kids", a group of obsessive David Bowie fans who emulated Bowie's "defiantly weird, high-glam" style. Experience Gia polished, and disheveled. Her father was Italian, and her mother was of Irish and Welsh ancestry. She left New York for the final time in early 1983. [3] She was described as "needy and manipulative" by relatives who recalled her as spoiled and shy as a child and a "mommy's girl" who did not receive the motherly attention that she desired. [4] During these years, she also appeared in various advertising campaigns for high-profile fashion houses, including Armani, André Laug, Christian Dior, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent. "When she was free and just being herself, Gia was unbelievable," shared Jolie in an interview. Wear your Gia pride. Three must-haves for the curious and the obsessed. ", "Beautiful But Damned: The Tragic And Very Public Self-Destruction Of America's First Supermodel", "Model Jean Shrimpton recollects the stir she caused on Victoria Derby Day in 1965", "No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel", "The Names Project – AIDS Memorial Quilt", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gia_Carangi&oldid=986432202, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from January 2020, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 31 October 2020, at 20:39. But eventually, she fell out of favor and spent the last few years of her life feeding her addiction by working odd jobs, including sex work, in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey. [15][16], In November 1980, Carangi left Wilhelmina Models and signed with Ford Models, but she was dropped within weeks. [22] By the end of 1982, she had only a few clients that were willing to hire her. She died of AIDS-related complications at the age of 26, becoming one of the first famous women to die of the disease. [28] In the fall of 1986, Gia Carangi was hospitalized again, after being found on the street badly beaten and raped. [21] Around this time, Carangi enrolled in an outpatient methadone program but soon began using heroin again. This is why many activists have wanted to do away with sexual identities as risk categories defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and move toward talking about specific sexual acts as potential drivers of HIV transmission. You don't know Gia until you've read her bio and watched her in moving pictures. A documentary titled The Self-Destruction of Gia, released in 2003, showcased footage of Carangi, contemporary interviews with Carangi's family and former colleagues, including Sandy Linter, and footage of actress-screenwriter Zoë Tamerlis, herself a heroin addict, who had been commissioned to write a screenplay based upon Carangi's life at the time of her own death of drug-related causes in 1999.[37][38]. They are an ambassador for the CDC program "Let's Stop HIV Together" and a student liaison for the American Bar Association's Health Law Section. By then, her career was in a steep decline. [25] After treatment, she got a job in a clothing store, which she eventually quit. [24], As she had squandered the majority of her modeling earnings on drugs, Carangi spent the final three years of her life with various lovers, friends, and family members in Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Gia Carangi existed in a pre-internet era, where print was the primary medium for her work. Carangi immediately became infatuated with Linter and pursued her, though the relationship never became stable. While some clients refused to work with her, others were willing to hire her because of her past status as a top model. [17] Carangi underwent a 21-day detox program,[18] but her sobriety was short-lived. Francesco Scavullo -- one of the leading fashion photographers at the time -- sought after Gia, even after the beginning of her demise. Gia grew … Her parents were Joseph Carangi and Kathleen Carangi; she was the youngest of three children. "[20], Carangi then mainly worked with photographer Albert Watson and found work modeling for department stores and catalogs. "[7], Carangi was a favorite model of various fashion photographers, including Von Wangenheim, Francesco Scavullo, Arthur Elgort, Richard Avedon, and Denis Piel. Unfortunately, her glamorous Cinderella story would soon become a Greek tragedy, as she tried overcoming her heroin addiction during many stages in her burgeoning career.

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