Project Runway – East Boston’s Gianna Simone is on the cover of Boston Magazine

By Cary Shuman
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Gianna Simone knew she might be featured as one of the models in the October issue of Boston Magazine. The 20-year-old East Boston resident had participated in a full-day photo shoot with four wardrobe changes at Laconia Airport in New Hampshire.

But then Simone received the call that became the highlight of the modeling career that she began while a 16-year-old student at Boston Latin Academy.

“My agent texted me that I had made the cover of Boston magazine,” said Simone. “I almost passed out when I saw the message. It was unbelievable. This has been the best thing so far. It’s a prestigious magazine that is read by so many people.”

Simone and a male model (Doug) are fashionably attired and pictured together as they appear to have just disembarked from a small plane. The cover photo of the October issue introduces the magazine’s “52 Weekend Getaways” article that appears inside the magazine. Simone said has received several congratulatory calls since the magazine hit newsstands.

Photographer Shannon Michelle recognized Simone’s potential during a shoot for a portfolio four years ago.

“She [Michelle] thought I was pretty special because I knew how to turn it on and off in front of the camera,” recalled Simone. “She asked me, ‘Do you really want to do this?’ “And I said, yes, I really do.” She said to me, “I just want to tell you that you have what it takes to do it.”

It wasn’t smooth sailing initially for the stunning 5-foot-6-inch brunette. Some modeling agency representatives weren’t supportive of her dream to enter the profession.

. “But I just wanted to model – and the more people told me I couldn’t, the more I kept pursuing what I would like to do,” said Simone.

As Simone began to receive modeling jobs on her own (without representation by an agency), she fell in love with acting. “I went to Bunker Hill Community College for an acting course and became a member of SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild).”

Her acting career is blossoming as well. She has appeared in independent and feature films, including Bride Wars in which she plays a bridesmaid in a scene with well-known actresses Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. She also landed a small role on Law and Order Criminal Intent in an episode from the 2009-10 season.

But Simone has never lost sight of her goal to become an established model in the Boston area.

Eighteen months ago, Simone signed a contract with her first agency, Maggie Inc. of Boston. She has received several modeling assignments, having been featured in print and commercial advertisements for companies such as Reebok, New Balance, Coca Cola, and Hasbro.

Maggie Inc., a modeling agency on Newbury Street in Boston, helped Simone land on the cover of Boston magazine.

“I received a call from my agent at 7 in the morning,” said Simone. “He said, ‘I need you in New Hampshire as soon as possible. This is for a possible cover of Boston magazine.’”

Simone said she was basically competing with one other female model for an appearance on the cover of the magazine.

“When I get to the shoot at the airport in Laconia, I knew the hair stylist, the makeup artist – I had worked with them on photo shoots before. It was very welcoming. The other models, including the male model (Doug) who’s on the cover with me, were very friendly.”

Simone has displayed a versatile look that bodes well for her future in the highly competitive industry. Though she is of Italian descent, she has appeared in several multi-ethnic photo presentations. Some people have told her that she has a resemblance to Sandra Bullock and Kim Kardashian.

“A lot of people say that I’m very photogenic, but in a way that I take on each character that I portray,” said Simone. “I love to model gowns and odd dresses. I don’t like normal-looking dresses. Something has to be odd and cool that would make a great picture.”

Asked to name her favorite model or actor, Simone said she admires the work of Angelina Jolie. “I think she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. Her personality and her attitude make her beauty stand out more. She’s just free. She’s just herself and I like that.”

Simone is continuing to branch out in her career. She will visit Miami next month to speak with representatives from modeling agencies.

Simone is the daughter of Anthony Baxter. She has a brother, Michael, 21. Her boyfriend is Erik Ralston, a well-known fashion photographer whom she met at a photo shoot.

“My father has been a very positive influence in my life,” said Simone. “My brother has been very supportive as well. And I tell my boyfriend that we met each other on the paths doing what we love.”

With one magazine cover on her resume, Simone is looking ahead with optimism. “Hopefully, I’ll get many more covers,” said Simone.

6 comments for “Project Runway – East Boston’s Gianna Simone is on the cover of Boston Magazine

  1. MM
    October 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Gianna owes her great poise and beauty to her beautiful mom – Marietta

  2. MM
    October 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Having worked so hard for this, it is great to see Gianna get this recognition and success.

  3. Fealtyvowed
    October 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    It is from direct personal & professional experience that I can confidently say that Ms. Simone is undoubtedly the ‘real thing’; she has a consummate charm and verve on a film/production set which is infectious; a rare commodity in an industry beset with egocentrism. She is supportive and complementary to the team with whom she’s working at any given time. I would give my highest recommendation to any casting &/or modeling agent on behalf of Ms. Simone, without qualification. To hire her is to strike gold.

  4. Marc Vos
    October 28, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Also having worked with this wonderful and extremely talented woman, it’s no surprise to me that she’d be featured on the cover of Boston Magazine. This is just the beginning for Gianna. A star is on the rise…

  5. ERI
    October 28, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    As a photographer, my first interactions with Gianna were of a professional nature, and from behind the lens I immediately recognized a beauty and soul far beyond any woman I’ve know – especially one so young – and I, too, would give my highest recommendation to anyone considering working with her. Her commitment to her art, her drive and passion, her kindness and her genuinely good-hearted nature and love frankly intimidated me to some degree, making me feel almost unworthy to work with her. But it was those same qualities that made me fall madly in love with her. Now, as her boyfriend, I feel a glowing pride to see how those qualities are recognized in her by her friends, her father, and people she has worked with. Eric and Marc, she is so blessed to have such wonderful and caring people like you in her life, and I know how much she is truly thankful and appreciative of your comments and support.

    Gianna’s success is owed completely to her inner strength and light, her beliefs and morals, and the aforementioned support. She has fought and worked extremely hard to overcome obstacles in her life and to get to where she is and this is absolutely only the beginning of her success.

  6. GSR
    October 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I love you baby! I love you and thank you for being my amazing friends Marc and Eric!
    To my mother, if youd like to talk to me- call me. I dont owe anything to you, except for my strength from the pain youve put me through.
    I am SO thankful to Cary Shuman, and Judy and Larri Russi for this article!

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