Issue #134

Jo Champa

L'Umanista

Champa was born in 1968 in New Jersey, but grew up in Rome, Italy. She became a model there as a teenager. Before the age of 18, she was already one of Gianni Versace’s favorite models. As such she turned to the Italian film industry in 1986, with various screen acting assignments, for directors including Claude d’Anna (Salome, 1986), Ettore Scola (The Family, 1987), Massimo Troisi (Le vie del Signore sono finite, 1987), and Damiano Damiani (Il Sole Buio, 1990). At the top of her career, Champa returned to the United States, starring in Steven Seagal’s Out for Justice (1991), followed two years later by Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha (1993), and then Don Juan DeMarco (1994) by Jeremy Leven. In 1998 she married an important Hollywood producer, influent member of the Academy, and gave him a son. Later in the 90s, she mostly worked for television guest starring in TV series such as Walker, Texas Ranger, JAG, and CSI: Miami. In Italy she has hosted the very successful fashion TV show for RAI TV, Kermesse. Champa has also served as special contributing editor and columnist for the Italian edition of Vogue and L’Uomo Vogue. Italian Vogue has written that, “She is an icon of Italian style. We love her because she is a refined and creative woman, a tireless supporter of Italian cinema and culture in the United States.” She received the America Award of the Italy-USA Foundation in 2009. She has produced for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the tribute event “An Academy Tribute to Sophia Loren”, with special guest Sophia Loren, with Billy Crystal hosting John Travolta, Christian De Sica and Rob Marshall among many others. In December 2011 she produced the launch of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, with a dinner and special performance starring Andrea Bocelli. She was the producer of the prime time special of that same event for Sky Italia. In June 2012 she hosted and moderated a Special Evening for David and Susan Rockefeller at MOMA in New York presenting Susan Rockefeller’s documentary, Mission of Mermaids. In 2016, she created, co-wrote, co-produced and hosted “Jo’s Hollywood” for the TV channel Sky Cinema in Italy from February 20th until the 28th it ran everyday and was extremely successful in its ratings, a docu-reality about the history of Hollywood up until the Oscars. It ran a second season in 2017, again on Sky Cinema in Italy.

Slide Left
Slide Right
What do you do in your life (work and fun)?

Actress, producer, writer, TV host. Sean’s mom. Work is a part of my life. Not my whole life.

What made you leave Italy and chose LA?

A broken heart and education.

Please share your best memory in the City.

Going to my first Hollywood event with my husband, the premiere of ‘Titanic’.

What made you choose this specific location and outfit?

Work. But in Hollywood work and life are intertwined.

Your thoughts about this project, ITALIANY.US

Great idea!

How would you describe being an ambassador of the Italian style/culture abroad?
I am honored and take it seriously, albeit with fun (Italians are happy people all in all). I wish more Italians would understand they all represent Italy; do it well and with integrity. Hollywood is a small town- word gets around quickly. There are no secrets!
  • Shots

    135

  • Time

    480 mins

  • City

    Los Angeles

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A visual celebration of Italians working, living and loving in NY and in the US