“Remembering Gia: Honoring the Life and Legacy of the Italian-American Model Who Inspired Angelina Jolie”

It’s been a quarter of a century since Angelina Jolie’s biopic movie ‘Gia’ hit the screens, chronicling the life of Gia Carangi – an Italian-American model who is considered a trailblazer in the modeling industry. However, her promising career was cut short when she passed away due to AIDS-related complications at the young age of 26.

Model Gia Carangi (Photo by Laurie Sagalyn/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images); Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Eric Liebowitz/Citadel Ent/Kobal/Shutterstock (5880251f) Angelina Jolie Gia - 1998 Citadel Ent USA Television

The 25th anniversary of Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Gia Carangi in the 1998 HBO film “Gia” was recently celebrated. Gia Carangi, a real-life supermodel, died at the young age of 26 due to complications related to AIDS. The movie also featured Mila Kunis as a young Carangi and included an ensemble cast that featured Faye Dunaway, Mercedes Ruehl, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Scott Cohen. The film, directed by Michael Cristofer and co-written by Cristofer and Jay McInerney, chronicles Carangi’s life from her ascent to stardom in the modeling industry to her tragic demise. You can discover more about Carangi’s life and passing by reading on. For the latest updates on intriguing human-interest stories and juicy celebrity news, sign up for PEOPLE’s daily newsletter.

Full-length portrait of American fashion model Gia Carangi (1960 - 1986) as she poses in a semi-transparant, floor-length dress, from a Vogue magazine photoshoot, late 70s or early 80s. (Photo by Andrea Blanch/Getty Images)

According to Angelina Jolie, her children believe that the movie character she played in the 1998 biopic, “Gia,” is the most relatable to her. In the film, Jolie portrayed Gia Carangi, a supermodel with a troubled life. Born into a working-class family in Philadelphia in 1960, Carangi was discovered on a dance floor in the late 1970s and quickly became famous at Wilhelmina Models in New York City. However, her rise to fame was overshadowed by her battle with addiction and substance abuse, which included cocaine and heroin. Despite her success, Carangi struggled with her sexual identity, and her relationships, particularly with makeup artist Sandy Linter, were often tumultuous. Linter recounted how Carangi’s addiction affected her energy and eventually took everything from her.

Model Gia Carangi (Photo by Dustin Pittman/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images)

According to an article in Dazed magazine, Gia Carangi attempted multiple times to overcome her addiction and even entered rehab, yet her struggles persisted. Sadly, she was diagnosed with AIDS in December of 1985 and passed away the following year due to related complications. Makeup artist Sandy Linter, who worked with Carangi, recalled their last encounter in 1983 or 1984 when Carangi came to her home, visibly upset and seeking comfort. Linter later learned of Carangi’s AIDS diagnosis but never saw her again. Despite her untimely death over thirty years ago, Gia Carangi still holds a special place in the hearts of her fans, as evidenced by her high Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% and Audience Score of 82%. While researching for her role in the film about Carangi’s life, Angelina Jolie initially held negative opinions about the model based on a past interview. However, Jolie’s perspective changed as she learned more about Carangi, even expressing admiration and a desire to have been her lover.

Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Larry Watson/Citadel Ent/Kobal/Shutterstock (5880251l) Elizabeth Mitchell, Angelina Jolie, Mercedes Ruehl Gia - 1998 Citadel Ent USA Television

Reports suggest that Charlize Theron is making remarkable progress in the battle against AIDS. Furthermore, the actress shared valuable insights she gained while portraying the character of Gia in the movie of the same title. Theron realized the significance of not giving too much importance to one’s physical appearance and avoiding the dependence on external validation. Jolie, who won an Academy Award for her role in Girl, Interrupted, wished that the audience would relate to Gia as an ordinary individual with their own sufferings and longing for affection.

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