Gia Carangi: Life and Death of the “First” Supermodel


Gia Carangi was the face of Yves Saint Laurent, but also the girl who set the standards of today’s modeling.

PHOTO: weheartit.com

Gia Carangi was born in Philadelphia on January 26th, 1960. Life in Gia’s family house was unbearable. When she was 11, her mother Kathleen left the family home which was very difficult for Gia to handle since she was especially close to her mother. After Kathleen left her family she remarried.

Her teenage years were not ideal. Since she did not receive attention from her parents, she turned to the street, so she could do whatever she wanted. During that period, she left her father and brothers and went to live with her mother. While living with her mother due to the feeling lonely and rejected, Gia starts experimenting with alcohol, pills, and marijuana.

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Gia moved to New York in early 1978. Thanks to Wilhelmina Cooper, former model and owner of the Wilhelmina Models fashion agency, Gia broke through to the top of the New York fashion scene in a short time. In addition to fame and money, Gia wanted to be happy and loved. 

There was a lot of talk about her sexuality. Some thought she was bisexual, while others said she was homosexual. Her first love was makeup artist Sandy Linter, whom she met on a photo shoot. Their relationship was very turbulent.

PHOTO: weheartit.com

In February 1980, Wilhelmina died of lung cancer. Gia was distraught by the news of Wilhelmina’s death, so she turns to heroin. At the funeral of her agent and mentor, Gia was offered a contract with a new fashion agency which she accepted in November 1980. Since her addiction became more serious, the agency decided to terminate the contract after three weeks.

After that Gia continued with modeling but larger modeling agencies didn’t want to hire her. During this period she usually worked in Germany, Russia, Greece, Brazil. When it seemed like she was right on tracks, she was caught with drugs and that ended her career. No one wanted to work with her anymore.

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She was admitted to the rehabilitation center but she stayed there for only three months. She was raped after leaving the hospital. Soon, doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia, but also AIDS. Her condition was deteriorating day by day, so she was hospitalized and put on a respirator. 

Unfortunately, she died at the age of 26. She was buried on November 21, 1986. No one from the fashion industry attended the funeral. 

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