I am grateful to the author for providing a copy of Born This Way in return for an honest review. Born This Way by Sacha Lanvin Baumann, and translated by Wendell Ricketts, was published on 7th September 2016 and is available for purchase in e-book from your local Amazon site.
Born This Way
In February 1978, when the flawless Gia Carangi arrived in New York at the age of barely eighteen, she had already landed a contract with one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in the world. The future that lay before her seemed dazzling. Blessed with a magnetic beauty and a unique personality, the young Philadelphia native reached the peak of success in only a few months, quickly joining the elite ranks of “supermodels.” One of the most requested models in her field, Gia appeared regularly in such magazines as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan. For all intents and purposes, Gia’s life quickly became a fairy tale—or so it seemed.
In only a few years, Gia’s destiny was complicated by unscrupulous individuals and by her inability to manage her cataclysmic success. Once on that road, the legendary model began a decline that led to her tragic end.
Born This Way brings to light never-before-heard stories and unusual memories of Gia, offering new perspectives on her life, career, and personality. Through these previously unpublished accounts by those who knew and worked with Gia, Lanvin shines a spotlight on the woman herself, peering beneath the fast-lane glamor and the fame to capture the true essence of a supermodel who continues to mesmerize the world even decades after her death.
My Review of Born This Way
The first supermodel, Gia Carangi, is recalled by the people who knew her in this biographical homage.
When I was asked by the author, Sacha Lanvin Baumann, if I would be willing to read Born This Way for review I have to confess that I wasn’t sure it would be my kind of read. I have no interest in celebrity and had never heard of Gia Carangi so I didn’t think I’d find it especially engaging.
However, I found Born This Way unsettlingly interesting. I was uneasy in the reading as at times I felt like I was intruding into other people’s grief. Born This Way draws on the anecdotes and memories of those who knew model Gia well, with direct quotation giving a flavour of the woman she was and how her friends felt, and still feel, about her. I have to admit that I found this formula a little repetitive towards the latter half of the book, but there is no denying that Gia evoked strong emotions in those who knew her. I thought the translation from Italian worked very effectively so that the flavour of the speakers and the original writing remained true.
Gia was such a troubled soul that reading Born This Way made me feel her life and demise was an inevitability. She seemed to fight with every element of what made her who she was – her beauty, her sexuality and her addictions. The element of freefall I found quite shocking and terribly sad and it made me wonder how much has changed to protect the vulnerable in the fashion world today.
I would have liked photographic illustrations too in the book as I think they would have helped underline and celebrate the very brief life Gia led. An example might be ‘Gia’s Last Photograph’ mentioned by Borodulin, for example.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to read Born This Way. It made me thankful for the fairly ordinary life I’ve led and introduced me to a woman, Gia, I would have liked to have known and a world of fashion I’m glad I’ve never been a part of.
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