‘Gia’ turns 25: the film that consecrated Angelina Jolie in the role of the first openly homosexual model
In 1998 HBO premiered for television the film “Gia”, the biopic that narrates the life and death of Gia Marie Carangi, considered the first supermodel of the 80’s. The role was played by a very young Angelina Jolie who captured the spotlight in Hollywood thanks to her impressive performance and paved the way for her consecration as one of the best actresses in the United States.
Directed and co-written by Michael Cristofer, “Gia” is based on the life of Gia Marie Carangi, one of the top models of the late 1970s and ’80s. Originally from Philadelphia, Gia comes to New York City to become a model and soon impresses agent Wilhelmina Cooper. . Her extreme beauty and her lack of prejudice to pose nude make her a star. Along the way, Gia begins an affair with her photographer, Linda, while she struggles with her addiction to hard drugs like heroin. Her spiral of abuse and debauchery would lead to an untimely death at age 26 from AIDS-related complications in 1986.
The film casts Jolie, then 22, as the real-life Carangi, who was considered by many to be the world’s first supermodel. Mila Kunis also appeared in “Gia” as a younger version of the model, in one of her first film roles. The cast is completed by Faye Dunaway, Mercedes Ruehl, Elizabeth Mitchell and Scott Cohen.
Who was Gia Carangi?
Carangi was born as Gia Marie Carangi in the city of Philadelphia on January 29, 1960, in a working-class family that included two older brothers. His father, Joseph Carangi, who was Italian, owned a restaurant, while his mother, Kathleen Adams, was a homemaker.
the wild side of gia It didn’t take long for her to manifest herself and already in her adolescence she was frequently found in gay clubs in Philadelphia. In the late 1970s, a photographer discovered her and was immediately captivated by her beauty and he introduced her to the modeling industry where she began working for brands like Versace.
At only 17 years old, gia He travels to New York where he meets the person who would make him become one of the most important models in history: Wilhelmina Cooper, who upon seeing the girl’s photos was impressed by her androgynous beauty and charisma. Immediately she hires her, caring little if the model barely met the minimum height for a catwalk model.
Quickly gia Even as a minor, she became the cover of Vogue, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, likewise, she was the image of Cover Girl, Giorgio Armani, Dior, Versace, among other great designers. Her rise was meteoric.
However, fame and prestige hid a terrible addiction to drugs, a problem that would end up costing her life just 9 years after becoming the first supermodel on magazine covers.
During his brilliant rise, gia he meets makeup artist Sandy Linter, with whom he begins a love relationship and who would become the great love of his life. With Linter she starred in one of the most iconic covers of her posing nude behind a fence for Chris von Wangenheim.
But stability was never part of life gia. Wilhelmina Cooper’s death in 1980 and her breakup with Sanyh Linder led her into a spiral of abuse and excess from which she could not get out.
His physical devastation was as swift as his rise to the top. The marks on her arms were becoming too obvious and a session for Vogue set off all the alarms. Eileen Ford, her new representative, soon fired her, fed up with her lack of professionalism, and the phone that she had never stopped ringing went silent.
Her mother, with whom she had an intermittent relationship, tried to get her off drugs by admitting her to a 21-day detoxification program, but when she left, she not only relapsed, but was arrested by the police. In a desperate attempt to re-engage in lost glory, she contacted her great friend, the photographer Francesco Scavullo, who gave her the last relevant cover of her career. Gia’s smile would shine for the last time in Cosmopolitan, this time with her telltale arms modestly tucked behind her back.
Pressured by her family, Gia tried to rehabilitate herself, but succumbed in the attempt. Instead, what she did was steal her mother’s wedding rings and she ran off to Atlantic City with her new girlfriend Elyssa Golden. When her money ran out she became a prostitute to buy drugs and while she toured the underworld of the gambling capital of New Jersey she suffered sexual abuse.
Sick with pneumonia, she was admitted by her mother to the Norristown Hospital, Pennsylvania where she died on November 18, 1986 from complications of AIDS.
*With information from Vanity Fair, La Vanguardia and People*