Throwback Thursday: Gia – The World’s First Supermodel
Gia Carangi was the first and most famous super-model of all time. Born in Philadelphia, she spent most of her childhood consumed by chaos and instability. Her parent’s divorce led to a strained relationship with her mother, and the beginning of a long struggle with substance abuse. In Philly she began her modeling career, and in 1978 she moved to New York and was signed with the prominent Wilhelmina agency. This was the beginning whirlwind of an instant stardom.
She was quickly coined as a super model, gracing the covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. She was posing in many advertising campaigns with high-profile fashion designers like Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent. She trademarked a new look of modeling, with more obscure body positions and facial expressions. Being so young and already struggling with drugs, Gia fell deeper into addiction. Although her international fame had great momentum, it soon quickly tapered due to her destructive lifestyle. At the young age of 26 she passed away due to AIDS-related complications. Although her life was short, her legacy as the world’s first supermodel continues on forever.
Gia appeared on numerous covers of Vogue, including British Vogue, Vogue Paris, American Vogue, and Vogue Italia. During Gia’s success, another supermodel Cindy Crawford, was often referred to as “Baby Gia” due to her similar modeling style and physical resemblance.
This infamous “fence” photo was taken by Chris von Wangenheim, during the after-hours of a fashion shoot. This photo was taken with makeup artist, Sandy Linter, who was rumored to have had a brief affair with Gia. This image depicts how Gia lived her life: bold and unapologetic.
Photography by Renato Grignaschi