Gia Carangi

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Gia Marie Carangi (January 29, 1960 – November 18, 1986) was an American fashion model during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carangi was considered by some to be the first supermodel,[1][2] although that title has also been given to others, including Janice Dickinson,[3] Dorian Leigh,[4] and Jean Shrimpton.[5] Cindy Crawford, who also appeared on the covers of fashion publications during her time, was later referred to as "Baby Gia" due to her resemblance to Carangi.[2][6]

Carangi was featured on the cover of 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 she became addicted to heroin, Carangi's modeling career rapidly declined. She later became infected with HIV and 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.[1] Gia, a biographical film starring Angelina Jolie, debuted on HBO in 1998.


Early life

Carangi was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the first child and only daughter born to Joseph Carangi and Kathleen Adams. Her father is Italian American, and her mother is American of Irish and Welsh ancestry. Her parents had an unstable marriage due to her father's domestic abuse of her mother, which resulted in Kathleen abandoning her family.[2] Those who knew her blamed her "fractured childhood" for the instability and drug-dependence that stilted her adult life.[2] 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.[2]

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