Cindy Crawford who also appeared on the covers of several fashion publications during her time, was later referred to as "Baby Gia", due to her resemblance to Carangi. Gia Carangi was also the first to present unusual poses, facial expressions and gestures. She is credited by many at the upper echelons of fashion to have created a new style of modeling, emulated by models since then to the present.Gia Carangi was an American fashion model during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Carangi, who was of Italian, Welsh and Irish ancestry, was considered by some to be the first supermodel.
Carangi was featured on the cover of many fashion magazines, including Vogue, April 1, 1979; Vogue Paris, April 1979; American Vogue, August 1980; Vogue Paris, August 1980; Italian Vogue, January 1981; and several issues of Cosmopolitan between 1979 and 1982.
Carangi was a regular at Studio 54 and the Mudd Club. She usually used cocaine in clubs but later began to develop a heroin addiction.
On March 1, 1980, Carangi's agent, Wilhelmina Cooper, died of lung cancer. Devastated, Carangi started abusing drugs. In the November 1980 issue of Vogue, Carangi's track marks from shooting heroin were visible even after airbrushing. For three weeks, she was signed with Eileen Ford, who soon dropped her.
In 1981, Carangi enrolled in a 21-day detox program, and started dating a college student, Elyssa Golden. The Carangi family, along with her mother, had suspected that Golden had a drug problem. Carangi soon began using again. She moved out of her mother's house and in with some friends, once again entering a detox program.
Her attempt to quit drugs was shattered when she learned that her good friend and fashion photographer Chris von Wangenheim died in a car accident. According to the Stephen Fried book, Thing of Beauty, Carangi locked herself in a bathroom for hours, shooting heroin. In the fall of 1981, she looked far different from the top model she once had been. However, she was still determined to make a comeback in the fashion industry. She contacted Monique Pillard, who was hesitant to sign her. For her second time, Carangi received the harsh treatment she skipped last time. Nobody would book her. Desperate, she turned to Scavullo. She landed a Cosmopolitan cover, a gift from Scavullo. Shot in the winter of 1982, it would be her last cover.
In West Germany, a budding fashion industry was being created. Although seen as tacky by the designers from New York, Paris and Milan, the Germans were willing to pay 10,000 marks a week to shoot Carangi abroad. However, no one in the States would book her. In the spring of 1983, she was caught with drugs in a shoot in Africa. Her career was over.
After pressure from her family she entered a drug-rehabilitation program again at Eagleville Hospital. After six months, she was released from the program and moved back to Philadelphia, where she seemed to be getting her life back on track. She started taking classes in photography and cinematography. But, three months later, she had vanished once again, and had returned to Atlantic City, and started shooting heroin again and was raped. She soon became sick with pneumonia, and her mother came and checked her into a hospital in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Carangi was diagnosed with AIDS, then a newly recognized disease. As her condition worsened, she was transferred to Philadelphia's Hahnemann University Hospital. Her mother stayed with her day and night, allowing virtually no visitors.
via gia-carangi.com, comcast.com, giacarangi.org