Gia Marie Carangi (January 29, 1960 - November 18, 1986) was a top US fashion model of the late 1970s and 1980s. A precursor to the Cindy Crawford/Rachel Hunter/Elle MacPherson "Supermodel" era, she appeared on the covers of several fashion publications during the era.
"Gia", as she was known in modelling circles, moved to New York City at the age of 18, and quickly rose to prominence, reaching international fame with such name magazines as Vogue and others. She posed for photos at many countries world-wide and led a fast life, thanks to her exotic appearance and lesbian lifestyle. Her sexual orientation has been disputed: while some think she was 100 percent lesbian, others point out to the fact she had many relationships with males and call her bisexual.
Gia frequented New York's jet-set night spots, such as Studio 54, and developed a heroin problem during the latter part of her life. In 1985, she was diagnosed with HIV, becoming one of the first famous persons to be diagnosed with the disease, and also the first famous female diagnosed. Carangi made several attempts at fighting her addiction, attending rehabilitation centers multiple times. In 1983, she was profiled on ABC's 20/20 news magazine, in a piece focusing on the dark side of modelling.
Gia Carangi died of complications resulting from AIDS in 1986, at the age of 26. A biographical film, Gia, debuted on HBO in 1998 which helped bring her back to the public's attention. Angelina Jolie played Carangi in the movie.