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January 29, 2023

A Young & Wild Gia Carangi

Gia Carangi took the modeling world by storm with her edgy looks and tough-as-nails attitude. But Gia was deeply troubled, and her brash behavior would become her demise. Gia was in high demand, and if it weren’t for her drug addiction and other self-destructive habits, her career would have cemented her legacy alongside famous supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford. But what Gia is perhaps best known for is her rapid self-destruction, which ultimately led to her untimely death.

On the surface, Gia Carangi seemed to have it all. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Carangi owned the spotlight and had droves of adoring fans from her high fashion work and appeared on the runways of Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, Versace.

The supermodel would go from a $10,000 photo shoot to a “shooting gallery,” or seedy locale where one can shoot up heroin, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Gia Carangi had blackballed herself from New York’s agencies and although magazines gave her several last chances, the model could not pull herself together. One of her final shoots appeared in Vogue in 1982.

By the end of that year, Carangi had become so volatile that she couldn’t get booked for jobs. No one wanted to work with the tough-as-nails wild child any longer. In the fall of 1986, Gia Carangi was hospitalized after being found on the street badly beaten and raped. She died of AIDS-related complications on November 18, 1986, at the age of 26 becoming one of the first famous women to die of the disease.

Today she is remembered as a cautionary tale and as one of the world’s first supermodels of her generation.


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