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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 gamily, 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.
Stephen Fried is a Senior Writer at Philadelphia Magazine. His work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, GQ, and the Washington Post Magazine. A winner of a 1993 National Magazine Award, the Distinguished Service Award for Magazine Reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Clarion Award from Women in Communications, he lives in Philadelphia with his wife Diane Ayres, a fiction writer.