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Gia Carangi travels to New York City with dreams of becoming a fashion model. Within minutes of arriving, she meets Wilhelmina Cooper, a wise and high-powered agent who takes Gia under her wing. With Cooper's help and her own natural instincts, Gia quickly shoots to the top of the modeling world. When Cooper dies of lung cancer, however, Gia turns to drugs – and both she and her career begin to spiral out of control.