She was on three shows — Jake Pavelka's The Bachelor Season 14, Bachelor Pad Season 1 and Bachelor Pad Season 2. She was the first two-time Padawan, and not too long ago Jake said if he could do The Bachelor all over again, he'd have picked Gia instead of his ex-fiancee Vienna Girardi. The late model-turned-reality-starlet was a welcome sight on our TV sets for many a Monday night.
Back in 2010, Gia was a 26-year-old swimsuit model from New York City, desperately searching for true love. On The Bachelor Season 14, Episode 4 group date, Jake picked Gia to head into a vineyard with him to see how the city girl would handle roughing it. Vienna predicted disaster, since Jake and Gia were so different. Instead, Jake and Gia had a surprisingly heartfelt date.
Gia suggested they play hide-and-seek in the vineyard, showing her spontaneous side. She also opened up to Jake about her days as the high school nerd. It turns out that was one think she and Jake had in common; he admitted he used to be called "Mr. Dateless." But the most adorable moment of their date came when Jake suggested he make up for her truly awful first kiss with a flirty game of spin the (wine) bottle.
Gia later told the cameras, "Jake and I's first kiss was the best kiss of my life." And it’s a kiss Bachelor fans won’t soon forget.
2. Gia's hometown date gets personal
During her hometown date, Gia gave Jake a tour of New York City — and dished the dirt on her lousy ex-boyfriends. "I really had one terrible relationship,” she said. “He wasn't a good guy, he was into bad things. He cheated on me with all my friends. ... My last boyfriend, he was young, communication when we fought was just terrible." She made it clear she didn’t want a relationship like that again.
At dinner, Jake talked to Gia's mom, Donna, who was concerned that Jake might break Gia's heart. Gia was also concerned about getting hurt again. In hindsight, it's hard to watch — knowing Jake won’t choose Gia, and hearing about Gia’s later pain — but it also makes you wonder how different life might've been if Gia and Jake had actually tried to make it work as a couple.
3. Gia loses with grace, praising Vienna and Tenley
Gia was one of the few people to actually try and befriend Vienna and help her get along with the other girls in the house. But that was Gia! From homeless animals to friendless Padawans, she always supported the underdog.
At one point, Gia was the third wheel on an awkward 2-on-1 date with Jake and Vienna. That night, Vienna snuck out to find Jake and spend more time with him. Gia felt like she wasn't even there, but she dealt with it in stride. When Jake eventually dumped Gia, leaving Vienna and Tenley Molzahn as his final two, he told Gia to set the bar high for the next guy.
“Make him work for you.” Gia cried, but said she was happy for him because he picked two great girls. Not many contestants leave with that kind of class.
4. Gia heads into Bachelor Pad 1 with a boyfriend, leaves with a Wes Hayden song
Gia walked into Bachelor Pad Season 1 with a boyfriend, NHL star Chris Campoli. Unlike the other Padawans, she had no desire to hook up with a new guy. That made things like the kissing contest pretty awkward.
Gia frustrated some fans when she did half the contest, then backed out out of respect for her boyfriend. But it was really confusing when this sweet girl with a boyfriend fell into a pseudo-showmance with none other than Wes Hayden, the shameless country-singing flirt from Jillian Harris’s season of The Bachelorette. He sang his trademark "Love Don't Come Easy" song for her. She gave him the same swoon face Jillian gave him, and offered up this classic line: "He’s like the modern day Shakespeare but better and cuter!"
On the BP1 reunion show, Gia admitted she and her boyfriend were no longer together. Wes kissed Gia as the live audience cheered. Wes and Gia apparently went out on a date after the show but were never in a serious relationship. (He lived in Austin, Texas, and she was in NYC.) Things got sticky when the rumor emerged that Wes hooked up with Gia's Season 14 buddy Vienna down in Austin, Texas, and Gia and Vienna ended up on bad terms.
5. Gia returns to Bachelor Pad 2, then walks out in tears
Gia wasn't exactly welcomed into BP2 with open arms. She had been there before, so it was like she'd already had one bite at the apple. Vienna was also on the show in a power couple with her then boyfriend Kasey Kahl. Gia was very anti-Vienna during this phase, and she was basically there to support Jake, who was the underdog in the house. (Gia always supported the outcasts.)
However, that alliance quickly went south when Gia felt like Jake wasn't supporting her enough. Gia felt hurt about always losing roses to Vienna. (It was part of Jake's kill-her-with-kindness plan to redeem his own name after his televised breakup with Vienna.) Gia also felt betrayed by her friend Graham Bunn, who secretly plotted to vote her out.
Gia ended up walking out of BP2 in tears, even before the rose ceremony. Chris Harrison stopped to ask her why she was leaving. "Every day I see people strategizing and being sneaky and this keeps happening in this house — and all for $250,000?” Gia said through her tears. “I'd rather take myself out and know that I played this honestly, and know that everyone deceived me here and I don't even want to be part of it anymore. ... I don't think I was made for this game."
In the limo, she sobbed and said all the backstabbing was breaking her down; it took her back to high school and left her in a dark place. But we were glad to see her rise above the drama.
Gia and Graham had a rocky friendship for a while, but they eventually made up, as Graham noted when he shared an Instagram photo of his late friend: "I'm so sorry we waisted 1 second of our friendship on trivial matters. Thank you for being the stronger person and mending those wounds last summer. I will always remember our times in NYC together #Friends."
Gia and Vienna eventually repaired their friendship as well. After Gia’s untimely passing, Vienna tweeted, "Gia you are my angel! You changed so many lives with your beautiful soul and will be missed and loved forever. ... The most beautiful person I had the chance to know."
What do you remember most about Gia? Share your memories in the comments.