The tragic life story of Gia Marie Carangi, the world’s first supermodel, who died at the age of 26 due to AIDS, may affect you deeply.
She is the world’s first supermodel, an icon and a pure beauty. She also appeared on the cover of famous magazines such as Carangi, Vogue and Cosmopolitan, where all the agencies and famous magazines were waiting in line to work. Let’s take a closer look at the tragic life of this woman, who was deprived of her mother’s love, and ended with AIDS.
The Life of Gia Marie Carangi
The story of Gia Marie Carangi begins on January 29, 1960.
The lonely daughter of a family of three, Gia’s clearest memories of her childhood are the endless fights between her mother Kathleen and her father Joseph. When Carangi turns eleven, her mother Kathleen leaves the family. Carangi goes through the hardest times of her life when her mother, whom she regarded as an idol until those years, leaves home.
In the years when she took her first step as a young girl, she met the gay clubs of Philadelphia.
The realization of her sexual orientation also corresponds to these years. Known to be a staunch David Bowie fan, Gia adhered closely to the “Bowie Kids” movement of the period. Marijuana, stimulant pills, and alcohol are a big part of Gia’s life. Her changing facial features and emerging beauty are an opportunity not to be missed for Kathleen and she convinces Gia to model.
It was during these years that she was discovered by Maurice Tannenbaum in a 17-year-old nightclub.
“When I saw him at a nightclub, I was hooked and wanted to take pictures of her. She also asked to be photographed. You should have seen this raw beauty.”
The New York days begin for Gia when she turns 18
Maurice takes him to Wilhelmina Cooper’s agency. Cooper is so excited by this unique beauty that he even forgets to make a contract with her. Gia loves and bonds with Willie like a mother; this bond of love will be her end.
Being a dark-eyed brunette girl, far outside of the blonde baby-like beauty understanding of the period, causes her to stand out in the fashion world of the 70s.
Gia will be the representative of a new beauty. Famous names of the period used the following expressions for him:
‘Gia reminded me of James Dean. She was very cool, but he had infinite vulnerability.’ – Andrea Blanch
‘In my entire career, there have been maybe only three girls that I said ‘Wow’ to the moment they walked into my studio. Gia, in the whole community, is the last person to come here and I’m ‘Wow’.’ – Franceso Scavulla
In the last months of 1978, she was on the cover of many magazines, including Vogue.
The most famous agencies of the period run after her. Even in this dazzling life, she feels lonely. Her colleague Julie Foster says that sometimes Gia needs someone’s love, and sometimes she comes to her house in the middle of the night and just wants a hug.
Gia meets cocaine to get away from the colorful world she never belonged to.
Cocaine, which was used to keep models up late in those years, had very different meanings for Gia. In the same years, she meets Chris Von Wangenheim, one of the most different photographers of the period, for another Vogue project.
Wangenheim says she wants to do some artistic work after the shoot and asks who will stay with her.
Gia and Makeup Artist Sandy Linter stay in the studio and the most beautiful woman in the world reveals all the beauties of her body with black and white frames behind the wire mesh.
Sandy participates in the filming from the other side of the fence, and Gia begins to take an interest in Sandy, whom she saw for the first time that day.
Over time, this interest turns into love, and one of the most talked about relationships in the fashion world begins. Gia puts Sandy at the center of her life and their relationship lasts for four months. After the breakup, things get complicated for Gia.
Death of Gia Carangi
With the death of agency owner Wilhelmina Cooper as a result of lung cancer in 1980, a period of collapse begins that will seriously affect Gia’s career.
During this period, she becomes acquainted with heroin. Unlike many people who are out of her life, she feels that the drugs will never leave him. In a short time, she invests all the money she earns from modeling in drugs. Her relationship with heroin nearly ends her career, and working with Gia becomes unbearable.
Before long, she decides to get away from the New York fashion scene in order to get away from heroin and turn a new page in her life, and she enrolls in a detox program.
She begins a relationship with Rochelle, a 20-year-old college student who is addicted to heroin. Rochelle is in a much worse situation than Gia. Her escape attempt was unsuccessful, and in 1981 he was caught drunk driving and then stealing money from family and friends. His drug treatment program, which he wrote for the second time, is interrupted again when his close friend Chris Von Wangenheim dies in a car accident.
The fashion community thinks Gia’s career is over.
Agency owners who chase after them in time tend to look for new faces. A year later, she is caught with drugs in North Africa and her career comes to an irreversible end.
The extraordinary model, who wants to start a new life in Atlantic City, starts the rehabilitation program again due to the pressure of her family.
After six months of treatment, he leaves the hospital and starts working as a cashier in various stores. Meanwhile, she starts taking lessons from the university. She turned to the field of photography and cinematography, which is her biggest dream.
Three months after she was released from the hospital, she disappeared. She is not heard from and returns to Atlantic City with her heroin habit again.
She is with men to earn the money she needs, she is raped several times. One day, when she suddenly fell ill, her mother came to him and they went to the hospital. As a result of the controls, first pneumonia and then AIDS are diagnosed. As a result of her rapidly deteriorating condition, she lives a life dependent on a breathing machine.
Gia died on November 18, 1986, at the age of 26
Carangi was first diagnosed with pneumonia as a result of the tests, but it was later found out that she had AIDS. She was admitted to Hahnemann University Hospital in New Jersey. On November 18, 1986, at 10:00 am, Gia Marie Carangi died due to AIDS-related complications. A small funeral was held at their home on November 21. No one from the fashion world attended her funeral. However, a week later, Gia Carangi’s friend and confidant Francesco Scavullo, upon hearing the news of her death, sent a card for her. Gia Carangi’s grave is located in Philadelphia.
Many people did not know the cause of death, only a few people in the fashion world knew. Carangi is known as the first female celebrity to die of AIDS. In 1998, a biopic about Gia’s life was shot by HBO, starring Angelina Jolie. Stephen Fried wrote a book based on her life, published in 1993, called Thing of Beauty.