Born and raised in Milan, Gaia Ceccaroli is a world-class connector and rainmaker who specializes in working with visionaries in different fields in both the nonprofit and for-profit spaces.
Since completing her Masters in Economics and Management in Arts, Culture, Media and Entertainment at Bocconi University, she has cultivated strong relationships with some of the world’s most influential individuals and organizations, and has earned the trust and respect of futurists, philanthropists, journalists, celebrities and trendsetters.
A former professional athlete in swimming and track & field, Gaia has traveled the world extensively for many years. She is now a permanent US resident, with active projects and clients both in America and abroad.
I’m passionate about connecting quality people to quality projects in a strategic and ethical manner, building relationships and cultivating opportunities. Strategy, PR, communications, high-profile networking, fundraising, events, development, special projects and corporate social responsibility are my expertise. As a consultant and strategic advisor, I have the chance to work with innovators in entertainment, medical science, fashion and design, architecture and non profit. I currently serve as an advisor and board member at the Franca Fund and Genomes2People, a genetic research nonprofit at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, committed to accelerating the implementation of genomic medicine and the promise of precision health. Additionally, I host intimate, exclusive, art-culture-and-science focused events in Los Angeles, Boston and Milan, for small groups of diverse, high-minded individuals to foster deep, organic connections and fun networking prospects. I live in West Los Angeles with my husband and two stepchildren, where I enjoy abstract oil painting. I also proudly volunteer and do fundraising for St. Joseph Center, which has been providing aid, training, and support to the unhoused and recently-unhoused community in L.A. since 1977.
While traveling around the world a few years ago, I stopped in Los Angeles to attend the Emmy Awards, where I met a funny American named Will Burke, who I soon learned was a comedy writer, actor, and one of the directors at “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” This chance meeting under the stars at the Governor’s Ball soon blossomed into a beautiful love story, a whirlwind of travel back and forth between Milan and LA. We got married on 11/11, under a full moon, and the man who married us was literally a star: Guillermo Rodriguez, the adorable Mexican sidekick to Jimmy Kimmel, and one of our dearest friends.
My best memory in the City of Angels happened on November 11, 2021. My husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary on the magical rooftop at the Petit Ermitage Hotel in West Hollywood. After dining al fresco in the hummingbird and butterfly garden, just a few meters from the very spot where we got married, we wandered up to the fire deck for a cup of tea beside a roaring outdoor fireplace. Later, we lounged by the deserted swimming pool, wrapped under a cozy blanket, bathed in the glow of the heat lamps above us and the iconic Olivia Steele neon art piece that reads: “See You on the Other Side.” It was quiet and peaceful, we were all alone on top of the world, and at some point I guess we drifted off to sleep, because the next thing we knew, we were being awakened by the finest mist of light foggy rain kissing our cheeks. Eventually, we rubbed the sleep from our eyes, and descended from the roof, hopped in the car, cranked up some tunes by our favorite band (and our good friends) Gone Gone Beyond, and drove to Swingers Diner on Beverly for some 2am pancakes. Swingers is one of the coolest spots in town, especially late at night. The food is great, the vibe is retro-funky, and the staff are all the hippest people you’ve ever seen. It’s also the place where we shared our very first meal together, at the tail-end of another one of LA’s famously endless nights.
I wanted a location that reflected just how vast and all-encompassing the city of Los Angeles truly is. In one photo, you can feel the earth, the sky, the water, and the fire of the shimmering city lights below. This location and this outfit were both the result of a whole lot of international teamwork, echoing the multicultural melting pot that is Los Angeles:
My husband is American, and he helped me choose the outfit. As a TV director, he knew which color palette and fabric textures would grab the light in just the right way. I wanted an outfit that felt timeless, like Old Hollywood, from the golden age of cinema, and we found it hiding in my closet!
My friend Maria is from Norway and she graciously opened her home to me for this shoot, because it provides the perfect vantage point: a solid platform of clean lines and water, balanced high above the chaos and electricity of the metropolis below.
My friend Mina from Serbia did my makeup for the shoot, capturing my natural essence without going too heavy.
And of course, Alexo, my fellow Italian, provided his vision, his camera, and his incredible eye, without which none of this could be possible.
As they say: teamwork makes the dream work.
I love this project because it reminds me how great it is to have Italian brothers and sisters while I am navigating the large American diaspora. We can often forget what a blessing it is to have fellowship, camaraderie, and solidarity amongst our fellow Italians while we are abroad. ITALIANY.US is a reminder that I’m not alone in this large and sometimes overwhelming country, and I can cooperate with my fellow Italians. It’s a visual reminder that I am surrounded by family even though I’m far from home. Somehow, I feel that all these photos of beautiful, vibrant, intrepid Italians are like seeds in the wind, and Italy is like the tree… our roots. Perhaps we can find fertile ground here and grow something new and fruitful together.
I think it’s funny to be an ambassador of Italian culture, because I get to give lots of impassioned lectures to Americans about all of our rules about food and etiquette. I try to teach at least one American per week about the important commandment: Thou Shalt Never Drink Cappuccino After 11am. And also that Fettuccine Alfredo is an abomination. It’s also somehow effortless for me to be an ambassador of Italian style and culture, because everyone recognizes me as an Italian. I’m not sure if it’s the fabrics I wear (primarily cashmere, linen and silk) or the way I match shoes, accessories, colors and subtle jewels, but people always seem to know that I’m Italian. And, similarly, I can always spot a fellow Italian, simply by their style.
In Italy, we are surrounded by so much beauty – the nature, the architecture, the art, the fashion, the design – that beauty becomes woven into the very fabric of our being. It becomes second nature for us to embrace and exude a style and aesthetic that is at once polished and unforced.