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The legendary supermodel Gia Carangi

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Gia Carangi

The legendary supermodel Gia Carangi

Before the likes of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer made supermodels a big thing, there was the late Gia Carangi.

In fact, Cindy Crawford, during her early years, was called Baby Gia because of the striking resemblance she shared with the late supermodel.

The legend of Carangi was so vast in the modelling world that she’s still talked about, compared to, and revered until today.

Gia Carangi and her earthy look

At the time when American modelling was defined by being blond and all sunshine, Carangi stood out because of her earthy, sensual, dangerous look.

In fact, in the 1998 HBO movie Gia, which starred Angelina Jolie, one of the top modelling agents had describe Carangi’s type of beauty as “fresh meat.”

She was discovered by a photographer on a dance floor in Philadelphia, who then sent her photograph to New York.
With that, a supermodel was born.

It was said that she added the word “super” to model as she was fetching atrocious sums of money to model around the world both on print and on the catwalk.

Gia Carangi’s devil-may-care attitude

Though she was known her beauty, one of the attractions about Carangi to people around her was the wild side of her personality.

Even at the start of her career, she had a toughness in and around her, which magnified as her career soared. As people described her, “she took no shit from anyone.”

Like a star, she would delay photo shoots because of the way her hair was cut, or walk out when she was in a bad mood.

As a star, as photographers scrambled to photograph her and magazines would pay heaps to get her on their cover, she partied too much and did a lot of drugs.

Gia Carangi and Sandy Linter

Carangi always had an affinity to having female lovers. In her biography A Thing of Beauty, it chronicled how she was always in love with fellow models she was shooting with.

Her most famous lover was the makeup artist Sandy Linter. The movie Gia could even be described as the tragic love story of the two.

From the start, co-workers remembered how “Gia was so into Sandy.” While it was one of Carangi’s longest relatioship, it was also tumultuous, given Carangi’s personality.

Linter was the light Carangi was looking for in her empty, dark life. Sadly, even that kind of love couldn’t save Carangi from her darkness.

Gia Carangi and her drug use

As expected, Carangi’s drug use spiraled out of control until nobody in the industry wanted to touch her anymore. By this time, to save her own career, Linter had to stay away from her.

Carangi tried to rehabilitate herself. But when she got out, her drug use– particularly heroin– got worse.

She contracted AIDS from sharing needles and became one of the first famous woman to be infected with AIDS.

She died of AIDS-related complications at age 26, penniless, and barely recognizable as the top supermodel of her time.

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