Gia Carangi and Raquel Welch are the two stunning beauties that made their way up by defying all odds. Gia Carangi was the first woman that emerged as an inspiration to many during her short-lived life.
First, let’s delve deep into the ups and downs of the life of Gia Carangi and how she became the world’s first supermodel of the mid-1970s.
The Full Circle of Gia Carangi
Gia Carangi started with much achievement, but as time passed, success started to diminish. She was one of the first openly gay models who was known for being wild and brave. She came tumbling down from the peak of her career because of her poor upbringing, lack of family support, and love. Her mother left her at an early age, making her devoid of any love and support she needed to stay motivated in her career.
As a result, she found happiness and love in things that made her lose everything she achieved in her career. She became addicted to heroin to fill the void in her heart. She hit rock bottom soon enough. However, her story still inspires many as she makes a comeback. Her life was full of twists and turns.
Gia’s Dysfunctional Family Background
Gia Carangi was born in Philadelphia on January 29th, 1960. Her father, Joseph, was an Italian American and owned a restaurant named Hoagie City. Her mother, Kathleen, was a homemaker. Her mother left and abandoned her when Gia was eleven. Gia also had two elder brothers who began living with their mother when she left the family, while Gia was left behind to live with her father.
As a result, most of her adolescent days were spent working at her father’s restaurant to get over the fact that her mother left her. The family situation had a significant effect on Gia. She was a mommy’s girl, according to her relatives. Getting abandoned by her mother didn’t go well for her. She felt the loss of love when her mother left her in 1971.
Uber Rebellious and Outspoken
Ever since she was a little girl, Gia was brave and outspoken. She had no filter and was open about her views and feelings, no matter what others would think.
She knew what it was like not to be loved, so she made sure no one else remained devoid of the same. To gain the love she was looking for, she gave small handmade bouquets to her school friends to befriend them during her school years.
In high school, Gia was much more rebellious and optimistic towards sexuality. She never hesitated in subverting gender norms. At this time, she realized she was attracted to women and had no shame in calling David Bowie her idol. She was even inspired to dress up like him. The good news was that she wasn’t the only one in Philly that felt or thought like her.
Made and Walked in Her Own Path of Fashion
Another thing that made Gia out of her league was her being unique and creating her own fashion rules. When Gia was at Abraham Lincoln High School, there was a group named the Bowie Kids. These kids were obsessed with David Bowie, just like Gia. The Bowie Kids, when they turned 15, started going to Philadelphia’s gay pubs and bars, dressing up similarly to Bowie’s style.
However, Gia wasn’t quite a fan of what people deemed the dress’s stereotypical “lesbian style.” She followed her style and recognized the LGBTQ community in her way. Though her friends followed Bowie’s glam style, she followed her androgynous style like Bowie. She dyed and cut her hair short, and she was more into wearing men’s clothing, unlike her idol. To top it off, she looked great, even without any makeup, as she was a natural beauty.
Gia on the Path of Being a Model
Philly’s gay clubs in the 1970s used to light up with the presence of Gia. Gia stood out of the crowd in these gay clubs with the way she dressed and the aura she carried along with her. She made people turn heads towards her with her looks. She dressed in the most casual way wearing thrifted men’s shirts, army surplus printed pants, Levi’s 501 jeans, coupled with oversized boots. Her natural beauty sparkled her presence.
One particular day at the gay pub changed her life. She was asked by a local photographer and hairdresser, Maurice Tannenbaum, for a photograph. As she entered the pub, he was instantly bewitched by her beauty and 5’8’’ height. He even asked Gia to photograph her. Luckily, Gia agreed, and this photograph acted as the main turning point in Gia’s life. The photographer passed the photos of Gia to Arthur Elgort, the photographer at Bloomingdale’s department store. That was it! The images were the fire that made Gia spread her magic and become the talk of the town much faster than she could even think about it.
A Proud Gay Supermodel and Her Dating Life
From here, her life as a local supermodel in Philadelphia started. She acted more confident now. She bid farewell to her once shy and reserved character and her reckless dating life. At the age of 15, she met a girl named Sharon Beverly while partying at the gay club, DCA. Though Gia was considered a lesbian, she dated Sharon’s brother for a while. In Gia’s biopic, when asked if she ever had sex with him, she says, “Yeah, once. And I could have done that with a German Shepherd;” A type of answer that was not surprising coming from Gia.
Did Gia date Sharon? Gia was younger than Sharon, but the age gap wasn’t the problem here. The problem was Gia’s mom. Gia’s mom Kathleen telephoned Sharon’s parents and told them to keep their daughter away as they were older than hers. This violent nature of Gia’s mom reflects within her as well. The rebellious nature of Gia came from her mother, as she didn’t hesitate twice before chasing what she wanted. Nothing stopped her from chasing her love, dreams, or anything else.
Moving Out of Her Comfort Zone
It was time for Gia to move away from her hometown and to be exposed to more opportunities. She was limited to local projects in Philly and couldn’t get the exposure she needed as Philly was less known for fashion and more for its excellent food, including cheese and hoagies. Gia moved to New York City, the city of lights, the hustle and bustle, dreams, and endless possibilities. At the age of 17 in 1977, Gia was finally able to be discovered. Her moving to New York was beginning to show the results she wanted.
In her words, “I started working with very good people, I mean all the time, very fast. I didn’t build into a model; I just sort of became one.” One of Gia’s most mentioned figures was Wilhelmina Cooper. She was one of the most popular and successful models of the 60s. Though Cooper and Gia had no similarities in how they used to style themselves, Cooper, who had just become a modeling agent, knew Gia could be the new face of the coming generation.
Gia Under Cooper’s Wing
Cooper was impressed with Gia’s tall and sharp features. She was like a breath of fresh air that the industry needed then. Cooper was confident of the teenager’s fresh and natural looks and immediately took Gia under her wing. Cooper not only worked as a model agent for her but also as a friend and mentor, something Gia had been missing throughout her adolescent years. Cooper was like a motherly figure for Gia.
In the words of Francesco Scavullo, one of the leading photographers of those days, “There was something she had… no other girl has got it. I’ve never met a girl who had it. She had the perfect body for modeling: perfect eyes, mouth, hair. And, to me, the perfect attitude: I don’t give a damn.” Then what led to her downfall? The very nature that made her skyrocket in the modeling industry would also prove to be the reason for her downfall.
Gia’s First Major Photoshoot
The breakthrough in Gia’s modeling career came in the year 1978 when she had her first photoshoot. The shoot became the talk of the town in no time as it was the naughtiest and most iconic, especially in those conservative times. The photoshoot involved Gia behind a chain-link fence, almost naked and clothes falling off her body. On the other side of the wall was a makeup artist, Sandy Linter. It is believed that the photographer of the shoot, Chris Von Wangenheim asked her to step up.
The results were phenomenal and exactly what the photographer was looking for. The sexual chemistry and romance between Carangi and Linder were flowing. Such a scene in the late 1970s was a spell-bounding moment. The photos instantly gained attention and became sensational overnight. This act was yet another significant turning point for Gia in her fashion career. She was now wanted by all the top couture houses like Armani, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent. A dream come true for most models. It didn’t take her long to dominate the cover pages of big magazines like American Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and others. But Gia’s mind was somewhere else at this point. She was not interested in the photos but the person in the photo.
Gia’s Grown Connection with Lindy
Gia never hesitated in taking the first step when it came to dating or showing love. Gia asked Lindy out the next day after their steamy photoshoot. To be exact, Gia asked Lindy if she could give her a ride home. Lindy had a red sports car, and their drive away made Gia fall for her even more than she already had. It was either love or infatuation; it was difficult to tell. However, not long after, Gia cleared the air by telling the media it wasn’t just a stupid love affair, but they love each other, even if considered a one-sided affair.
They dated for a while and became a beautiful young couple. Gia used to gift her, and they would go clubbing and out to dinners. More than anything, what mattered to Gia was the support and love she had been searching for all these years. She finally met someone who understands her the way she deserves to be understood- especially in the field she works in. People usually get lonely, even in the presence of fame and fortune. She had always been lonely, but the 19-year-old Gia could finally know what it is like to be happy and smile from cheek to cheek. However, unfortunately, fate had different plans for her.
The Vulnerable Nature of Gia
Gia was just 19, and she was earning about $100,000 a year. She was one of the highest-paid models of those times, also one of the reasons she was considered a supermodel. But being a model comes with relentless pressures and vulnerabilities. Gia was used to being a person who doesn’t like to portray herself as weak and someone who needs help, especially while at work. This increased her need for a close and supportive relationship.
Her relatives rightly considered her to be a needy person. Gia wanted to fulfill her neediness through Sandy. However, Sandy wasn’t right for her. She was even hesitant to call Gia her girlfriend. Thus, it was better for Gia not to push Sandy into a one-sided love affair any longer.
The Beginning of Gia’s Downfall
After Gia parted ways with Sandy, she felt lonelier, and it was difficult for her to cope. This feeling of loneliness, coupled with her edginess, made things worse. Her quest for finding the love she has been looking for since childhood continued. At one point, she also admitted, “I am finally really starting to dig being different. Maybe I am discovering who I am. Or maybe I’m just stoned again.”
She began finding recluse and happiness in things she shouldn’t, and even more after ending her relationship with Sandy. She found comfort in being in clubs like Studio 54 and the Mudd Club. These were New York’s two famous hotspots that were also frequently visited by Warhol and Bowie. Along with being alluring, these clubs can also be described as outright dangerous. Also, as told by Anita Sarka, the former DJ of Mudd Club and a friend of Gia to Vanity Fair, “In those days, everyone had this idea that being a junkie was very glamorous.” This hinted at Gia’s first signs of her career going downhill.
Deep into the Use of Drugs
Even before she turned into a young adult, Gia was addicted to drugs involving the consumption of marijuana, quaaludes, cocaine, and heroin. Cocaine use was every day among people going to discos and clubs back then. Coke users often turned to heroin. Gia and her 24-hour party friends were stuck in the vicious drug trap.
Gia started using heroin more than she should, thinking you don’t get addicted unless you use a needle. The other hangout place in New York was CBGB. The famous Ramones, Talking Heads, and Patti Smith used to hang out at this huge club. Gia was also a massive fan of Blondie and was also featured in one of their music videos, ‘Atomic.’ However, the use of drugs wasn’t the sole reason that turned out to be devastating for Gia’s supermodel career.
Gia Grief-Struck with Major Loss
As if Gia wasn’t already having trouble surviving in the industry, she was hit by yet another tragedy. Her very mentor, agent, and motherly figure, Wilhelmina Cooper, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Not long after, she died in March 1980 at the early age of 40. This was a significant setback for Gia as she lost her sense of direction and guidance in the industry and lost the sole person she was close with. She became depressed, devastated and resorted to heroin to ease her pain and suffering.
Gia had to change her photoshoot area and drastically dropped her earning from $10,000 for one shoot to a local ‘shooting gallery.’ Here, she could shoot heroin and be situated in the Manhattan Lower Eastside. She started to show up for shoots high on heroin. However, even before this rowdy shooting behavior, she was known for being difficult on sets. She was high maintenance, edgy, and known for throwing tantrums. In short, she was already hard to work with when she was in her normal state. The use of heroin just made things worse.
The Difficult Gia on Shoots
Long before heroin could affect Gia’s work, Gia’s behavior itself was always troubling during shoots. She was always late, missed shoots without informing, and even canceled on them many times. Even when she appeared, her behavior was as vicious as possible, throwing tantrums and abandoning shoots mid-session searching for drugs and whatnot. Sometimes she would get so high, and she would pass out.
She was highly addicted to drugs to the point that she once wrote ‘get heroin’ on the calendar. Instead of gaining control of her own life and treasure what she already had, she was drowning deep in the use of drugs to the point of death.
She Lost Her Friends, and Eventually, Her Body
When we talked about her friends, it was more about one close friend she had, Sandy Linter. Sandy was shocked to know how her 20-year-old ex-girlfriend was reeling with the consumption of drugs. At this point, she couldn’t even dress or even look after herself. The worst was that Gia used to inject heroin in the same place, again and again, resulting in an abscess mark on her head. This abscess also got infected and damaged a vein, and Gia had to undergo surgery.
This was just one scar. She had many other similar scars as a result of her drug use. Any scar on the face or arms for a model is a bummer, so it was for Gia. She no longer was able to provide good photos, and as a result, nobody wanted to work with her.
One Ray of Hope
Even in these difficult times, there was one photographer that stood by Gia. He was her old friend, photographer Francesco Scavullo. He was able to help in one of the shoots of Gia in the Caribbean, but he could see Gia was in deep use of drugs and needed professional help.
Francesco said, “She was crying. She couldn’t find her drugs. I had to lay her down on her bed until she fell asleep.”
The Needle Punctured all Hopes
The last photoshoot of Gia for American Vogue turned out to be the finale of Gia’s downfall. This happened in November 1980, where Gia had such clear scars marks that even editing or airbrushing wouldn’t work.
In the same month, she also left Wilhelmina’s model agency. She instead on joining the rival Ford Model Agency. This decision didn’t turn out well for Gia, and the Ford Model Agency kicked her out within weeks as well.
Back Home in Philadelphia
Soon after the Ford Model Agency, she had no one she could stick by. Even her few friends deserted her, including Sandy.
She had no choice but to leave New York City behind and get back to her hometown. She returned to Philadelphia in February 1981 and stayed with her father and stepmother. While staying there, she decided to become clean.
Her Route to Recovery and Rehab
Even when she tried to clean up, trouble still followed her. Finally, she went through a 21-day detox program in February 1981. However, her sobriety lasted for few days only before she found herself in yet more trouble.
This time it was a police arrest for reckless driving. This happened around March 1981. She was chased by the police, crashed, and burned her car into a fence. The police had to arrest her for driving under the influence as she was found high on cocaine and heroin. Later, she was signed with the Legends Modeling Agency and worked around Europe.
Trying To Make a Comeback But…
She was given a television show on ABC in 1981. She was shown as a ‘bad actor turned good’ and was ready for a comeback. But not long before, she couldn’t control herself again and was found snorting heroin backstage during the shoot.
She tried to justify the struggles of the modeling field and how it led to her using drugs. She always portrayed herself as 100% clean; however, her eyes and body language said something else.
Another Attempt at a Comeback
She didn’t lose hope yet and was constantly trying to make a huge comeback. This was in late 1981 when Elite Model Management signed her. But it wasn’t long before she disappointed them too.
Getting work for Gia was the most challenging task as no one wanted to work with a troubled model. However, in 1982, she did another photoshoot for Cosmopolitan, and behind the camera were Francesco and his assistant Sean Brynes.
The Track Marks on Her Arms
She was hiding the track marks on her arms posed to be challenging for every modeling agency. Cosmo, in April 1982, tried hiding them below a billowing dress. It didn’t work out well. She was given another chance by a Versace photographer, Richard Avedon. This was probably her last opportunity not to mess things up.
But the night before her shoot, she partied hard and ultimately missed the shoot the next day. She showed up for work but never returned after leaving to smoke a cigarette. She was replaced by Rosie Vela, another young emerging model.
Gia Carangi Blacklisted
Even after enrolling in a detox program again, her heroin use relapsed. It was high time now, and all major modeling agencies blacklisted her.
Still, she was able to find a way to earn her living through scrapping chores. Lastly, she also was cast in the catalog of the German Mail Order Company but later removed, citing the reasons as her drug use.
Resorting to Being a Sex Worker
Until 1985, she continued doing small tasks to make a living, including selling jeans and working as a checkout clerk before turning into a sex worker.
After joining a treatment program, she stayed clean for a year or so. In late 1985, she became a sex worker and was ready to sell her body in return for a few dollars. She was later diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, before she was better again, she was then diagnosed with AIDS. There was no going back this time as it was severe and involved extended stays at the hospital.
The Fall of Gia in 1986
In the 1986 fall, she was hospitalized again because she was raped and badly beaten.
She died soon after due to AIDS-related complications on the 18th of November 1986. She was 26 years old then and the first woman to ever succumb to such a disease.
The Biopic, Movie, and Documentary
In 1998,12 years after her death, a movie was made on her life in which Angelina Jolie played the lead role. Jolie also received a Golden Globe award for her performance.
In 2003, a documentary was made on her life, named The Self Destruction of Gia. This documentary involved interviews with her family members, colleagues, and her ex-girlfriend Sandy. There is also an AIDS Memorial Quilt square made in her memory that reads her words, “You know what I think? I think there’s a reason for everything. God has a big plan for me. Just not in this life.”
Raquel Welch: Beyond the Cleavage
Raquel Welch was the beauty icon of the 60s. The Chicago native became famous for a skimpy fur line bikini photo that made her rise to fame. The image was used as the poster for the film, One Million Years B.C. The movie was released in the year 1966, and she had a total of three lines in the film. She still managed to seek the limelight for this exemplary image on the film poster.
In her autobiography, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, she explained how she was always drawn to the stage from childhood. She had always been keen on ballet dancing and wanted to become a professional ballet dancer.
Let’s have a sneak look at her life!
Ballet Dancer Body Without Being a Professional Ballet Dancer
She received ballet dancing training even though she couldn’t fulfill her dreams of being a ballet dancer. Her training didn’t go to waste as she was able to gain a ‘near-perfect body’ through her dance training that was aptly recognized in her modeling and acting career.
She got married to her high school sweetheart and had two children. She was one of the most famous stars of the era and the sex symbol of the 60s.
A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
On asking about her film poster and just getting three lines in the movie, she jokingly said, “I had no other credentials as an actress outside of that one laughable line of dialogue: Me Loana… You Tumak.’ It felt like I’d stumbled into a booby trap – pun intended,” She further added, “I am living proof that a picture speaks a thousand words.”
In short, she didn’t mind it one bit. She regarded this not as an insult but as a breakthrough. In her words, “I thought this was going to be one of those movies that was going to make me a laughingstock – well it did that too – and it’s a breakthrough. Every single person seems to know who I am.”
Raquel and Hugh Hefner as Friends
Raquel was quickly known as Hollywood’s ‘It Girl. She was also termed as ‘most desired woman’ by Time magazine. Hugh Hefner, as a result of her popularity, wanted to shoot her nude pictures. However, she declined every time, saying, “I am my father’s daughter, and that’s just not the way you behave.”
After some time, she agreed to pose for Playboy with a condition, not to pose fully nude. Hefner wasn’t too happy with it. However, the shoot happened according to her desires without breaking the friendly bond between them.
Yoga And Bag Balm: The Secret of Her Beauty
Undoubtedly, Raquel was a natural beauty. However, she kept her physique and petite body maintained through her hard work and fitness routine.
She even began practicing yoga during her late 30s. In addition, she was also known for her flawless skin, and the secret behind it was weird. Bag Balm had a secret ingredient, and you’ll be shocked to find out what it is. “Bag Balm is kind of a silly thing. It’s used when they milk cows on their udders, it is something you can put on overnight, and when you wake up, you don’t have a dry, cracking mouth. Believe me; there are a lot of mummies walking around with Bag Balm,” she revealed.
Raquel, Men, and Dating
Raquel’s dating was quite active but usually temporary. She dated four men, and it didn’t work out with any of them. The reason being, Raquel liked to be independent and needed no one to make her happy.
Also, she didn’t find any decent men. All of them were just into making use of her money and fame. In the same context, she says, “Sometimes it was because people were with me because of who I was and what I could bring to the table. While I’m away working, they like to start controlling the finances and all kinds of other things, and when I find out about that, I’m not happy.”
One of Many of Raquel’s Achievements: Makeup Icon
In 2007, she earned an elite celebrity after being dubbed as a Mac Cosmetics icon like other famous artists such as Brooke Shields. In words quoted by Glamour Magazine about Raquel, she is a “movie star image; strong and wild, sophisticated and exotic,” and thus, they choose her to be their frontwomen.
Her makeup artist was none other than Whitney Snyder, a talented makeup artist who created flawless looks for Marilyn Monroe. Raquel was modest about her looks and said, “I don’t find myself even the littlest bit sexy, but I can pretend.”
A Person Who Rocks Wigs Every Day
Raquel indeed is a fantastic person that has inspired many women in the 60s when it comes to hairstyles. According to her, the bigger, the better. Her hairstyles were achieved after using a sufficient amount of hairspray to make them fluffier. Raquel was also famous for wearing wigs every day confidently.
She also encouraged others to wear them daily, saying, “With the aid of a wig, I have more versatility in my life, and so can you!” Like today’s fashion influencers, she also suggested keeping your wig hanging upside down at night to keep them voluminous.
Raquel Opening Up About Being a True Latina
She had always been known as a classic American woman. However, one day after decades in the 2000s, she opened up about her Latin roots. In a New York article, she said, “I’m happy to acknowledge it, and it’s long overdue … There’s been kind of an empty place here in my heart and my work for a long, long time.”
Also, her father had always favored hiding her Latin roots, just like he kept them hidden when he immigrated to the U.S. However, Raquel had different plans. She was never ashamed of being Latin and even refused to change her last name to something Americanized when Hollywood movie producers urged her to do so.
The World Not Getting Over Her Fur Bikini
Her fur bikini stardom wasn’t over yet. The world was still reeling over it as many of them still wore Halloween costumes inspired by it. Various celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski were seen flaunting it as well on various occasions.
When asking Raquel about it, she said, “It is nice to be noticed. I think it is much better than not being noticed! My whole career has been about being noticed … so I am grateful that people are still interested.”
The Craze Was Not Over Yet, Especially Among the Kardashians
Kim was not the only Kardashian who was head over heels for Raquel’s look. Khloe Kardashian was the same. She even had an artwork of Raquel hanging in her home shown by her during a tour of her house.
The artwork had a black and white image of Raquel crucified on a cross. The image also became controversial and was clicked by photographer Terry O’Neill to state that she wasn’t taken seriously as an actress.
Beyond Being a Sex Symbol
Raquel has always been classy and maintained a substantial gap between being sexy and vulgar, yet she remained known as a sex symbol.
She is now referred to as an influential feminist. In her autobiography, she says, “Do we have to go so far where nothing is happening unless we’re getting graphic? A woman is a wonderful thing … It’s not an easy role to play, but a beautiful and powerful one.”
Also Known for Being ‘Mama Duck’
Raquel was rightfully known for dodging paparazzi. She even helped and advised many celebrities on how to avoid cameras and press. She calls herself ‘Mama Duck’ for the same reason.
Once, she was out in a restaurant with an actress. Suddenly, when the paparazzi showed up, and the woman wanted to dodge them, Raquel helped her make a sneaky route escape.
Raquel’s Daughter and Son
Raquel had two children from her first marriage, Tahnee and Damon. Tahnee was as beautiful as her mother and became an actress as well. She even directed a hit Hollywood movie. She was featured in a science fiction movie named, Cocoon as well.
Raquel always put her career before her family. Her family claimed the same about her, and Raquel accepts it as well. In Raquel’s words, “The many, many other times I wasn’t there for Damon and Tahnee.”
Raquel’s Zodiac Sign
Raquel is a true Virgo, something she wholeheartedly relates to. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, on the 5th of September 1980. She also shares her zodiac sign with many other celebrities and actors like Adam Sandler, Beyonce, and Cameron Diaz.
Just like Virgos, Raquel has been modest and humble, not letting her fame and money get over her head. Virgos are also hardworking, ambitious and work their hearts out to achieve their goals. This proved true for her when she decided to pose in a fur bikini.
The Net Worth of Raquel Welch
Raquel’s net worth was crazier than it sounds. A 30-million-dollar net worth in the 60s was incredible and well-deservingly earned through her hard work. She had always been good at saving money from her stints, promotions, and acting.
She promoted brands like Foster Grant Glasses, UWear Wigs and was also featured on the cover page of multiple popular magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, People, and more. She had successfully and rightfully earned money and gathered fame that many people only dreamed of achieving.
Her Defying Nature Won Her a Lawsuit
Did you know she even filed a lawsuit against MGM and won it too? Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) hired her for a role in 1981. The film’s name was Cannery Row. Raquel began shooting for the film, but it was halted midway and was fired by MGM.
Raquel realized that they had hired another actress for the role, 15 years younger than her. Raquel didn’t have any issue until they would provide a role in any of the other films. However, MGM refused to fulfill her demand. She then filed the lawsuit against MGM and won a whopping $24 million as a settlement amount.
Wall of Fame
Raquel’s first-ever highly recognized award was at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, granted in 1996. She received the star amongst the 200 people she loved, including close family members, friends, and fans.
She was 55 years old when she was presented with the star. She even gave a teary-eyed speech. To quote her words, “It’s been a bumpy ride, but I managed to do a lot of work that I’m proud of in movies and television.”
Her autobiography, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, made her a bestselling author apart from being a star.
In her autobiography, she talks about her personal life beyond her sex appeal. She talks about body image, facial aging, and how to deal with it. She also focuses on how she managed to sail through her menopause by doing yoga and eating healthy. Furthermore, she also mentions her strained relationship with her daughters and how she could never be a good mother.
Yet Another Award with Her Name
She was also regarded with a Golden Globe Award in 1975 for her role as Constance de Bonacieux in the film, Three Musketeers.
She was also nominated for her role in the Right to Die as Best Actress in a Motion Picture in 1988.
First Role with Elvis Presley
Raquel has been a big fan of Elvis Presley since her teenage age. In a 2013 interview, she recalled saying, “When I saw him in action, he was mesmerizing. I screamed myself silly”.
To her surprise, Raquel got her first film in Hollywood and got to work alongside her idol Elvis Presley. The film’s name was Roustabout and was released in the year 1964.
Raquel as a Singer
Yes, she could sing too. Besides acting and modeling, she had a bright career as a pop singer during the late 1980s.
Her first hit song was, ‘This Girl’s Back in Town.’ She was also cast in a musical act shot in a One Women nightclub in Vegas. As a singer, she was also cast in ‘Woman of the Year’ and ‘Victor/Victoria’ and received a great response from the audience.
Foster Grant Model
Raquel, as mentioned before, modeled for Foster Grant sunglasses as well. This was in the 1960s. The twist here was that even after 50 years, Foster Grant chose her again for modeling their sunglasses for television commercials. It was also considered the best advertising campaign back then, labeled as, “Who’s that behind those Foster Grants?”
This was another excellent example of how she inflected the Hollywood industry and remained the beauty queen forever.
Raquel’s Most Controversial Role
Myra Breckinridge, released in the year 1970, still stands as the most controversial film of hers. She played the role of a transsexual woman.
It became controversial not because of her but because of the film director, Micheal Sarne. The director was repeatedly questioned for his unorganized and unprofessional behavior on set. Raquel didn’t even attend the shoot for three successive days to show her displeasure. The film was eventually released and was considered one of the worst films ever made.
The Most Stunning Weather Forecaster Ever
When she was only 18 years old, she worked as a weather forecaster for Chicago and San Diego.
Later, after many years when she visited Chicago, she recalled her role saying she used to write the current temperatures behind a glass map.
Did You Spot Her in Shawshank Redemption?
You can consider yourself as her biggest fan if you could do so. If you watched Shawshank Redemption (you should if you haven’t, as it is the second-highest-rated movie on IMDB), you probably know the storyline.
Andy Dufrane, a successful banker, was accused of murdering his wife and lover and spends 19 years escaping jail through a hole. He attempted to hide the hole with the help of Raquel’s fur bikini poster. Did you miss that?
Minor Roles, Big Effect
Do you remember her as a part of a Reese Witherspoon Movie?
Raquel had a small role in Legally Blonde, a romantic comedy. Reese was just 25 years old when she did the movie. Raquel played the role of the ex-wife of the murder’s victim, Mrs. Windham Vandermark. The role wasn’t too significant, but she still managed to win the hearts of many through her impressive acting.
She Faced Rejection Like Many Others
It wasn’t easy for Raquel to sail through the top. She, like most others, also faced rejections from various modeling agencies before being recognized as a sex symbol or for her beauty.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she reveals, “When I tried to do some modeling after I first came to LA – just to get a job – they hated my body. Everything was wrong.” However, she stuck to her passion and finally got recognized and made it big.
Hottest Bikini Babes
One sensational fur bikini shot is still not forgotten. Though the beauty standard in the 21st century has come a long way since the 60s and 70s, Raquel is still credited for her timeless beauty.
In a poll of hottest bikini babes held in 2006, Raquel still managed to stay at the top of the list. This says a lot about her magnetic influence.
Beauty that Runs Deep
Though Raquel was first recognized due to her natural beauty and good looks, she became a leading lady and Hollywood legend for reasons beyond them.
She won several beauty pageants in her teen days, such as Miss Photogenic, Miss La Jolla, Miss Contour, and Miss Fairest of the Fair. But her will to achieve something much more in terms of her beauty made her reach heights and win thousands of hearts.
Spark of Love Between Raquel and Bob Dylan
Did you know Raquel dated Bob Dylan, the legendary singer, and musician for a short while as well?
Raquel talked about their relationship during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Bob Dylan had once told Raquel, “It’s a fantasy of mine to spend some time with you.” The love between them didn’t last long, and Raquel broke his heart soon after.
Bob Dylan’s album, Time Out of Mind, is reportedly based on her time with Raquel.
Married to a Movie Producer
Raquel had four husbands throughout her life. However, her second husband, Patrick Curtis, played a significant role in her life. She married him in France in 1967 and divorced him in 1972 after five years.
During this short period, Patrick played a crucial role in providing her with the lead role in many of his movies. He was a movie producer and produced films like the Avenging Angel, the Beloved, J-Men Forever, and others.
Raquel Welch’s Diet Plan
Not all bodies are God-gifted. At some point in life, you need to maintain it. Maintaining it is not easy, and one like Raquel’s is even more difficult.
She can manage her body by following a strict yoga regime, performing cardio workouts, weightlifting, and following a strict diet. She eats low-carb foods and is gluten-free. She avoids wheat, salt, and caffeine. Also, she drinks lots of water, eats three fruits a day, and doesn’t eat anything after six.
Her Recent Films
Even at the age of 79, her acting career was not dormant. Her recent and probably the last film was How to Be a Latin Lover, released in the year 2017. She was also a part of the film Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, released in 2018.
Even at this age, men are still swooning over her One million Years B.C. film poster.
Her Current Life
She is now in her 80th year of life and living happily and peacefully in Los Angeles in a huge mansion.
She sold her 5.7-million-dollar mansion situated in Beverly Hills to a celebrity plastic surgeon. Yes, plastic surgeons earn decently too, as told to Piers Morgan in an interview, “Because I’m too set in my ways. I like what I do, enjoy being me, and make an excellent living at it, and I am happy. I don’t have to have a man.”