Thing of Beauty: The
Tragedy of Supermodel Gia


At age seventeen, Gia Carangi was working the counter at her father's Philadelphia luncheonette, Hoagie City. Within a year, Gia was one of the top models of the late 1970's, gracing the covers of Cosmopolitan and Vogue, partying at New York's Studio 54 and the Mudd Club, and redefining the industry's standard of beauty. She was the darling of moguls and movie stars, royalty and rockers. Gia was also a girl in pain, desperate for her mother's approval and a drug addict on a tragic slide toward oblivion, who started going directly from $10,000-a-day fashion shoots to the heroin shooting galleries on New York's Lower East Side. Finally blackballed from modeling, Gia entered a vastly different world on the streets of New York and Atlantic City, and later in a rehab clinic. At twenty-six, she became on of the first women in America to die of AIDS, a hospital welfare case visited only by rehab friends and what remained of her family.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with Gia's family, lovers, friends, and colleagues, Thing of Beauty creates a poignant portrait of an unforgettable character and a powerful narrative about beauty and sexuality, fame and objectification, mothers and daughters, love and death.

Thing of Beauty spawned the 1998 Emmy-winning HBO film "Gia," and, more recently, two one-hour, prime-time programs on Gia, on the ABC-TV "Vanished" series and E!'s "True Hollywood Stories" It has also inadvertently helped create a growing cult of Gia fans who have their own competing websites and engage in a (usually) healthy exchange of Gia images, insights, information and, occasionally, disinformation. On the following pages, you'll find a few Gia FAQ's and some selections from the collection of photos and Giaphernalia I accumulated while writing the book.

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