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Joanne Borgella (born c. 1982; died October 18, 2014)[1] was an American singer, model and reality television personality. She was signed to Wilhelmina Models in New York City, Miami and LA. She was the first winner of Mo'Nique's Fat Chance pageant as "Miss F.A.T." in 2005[2] and a top 24 contestant on the seventh season of American Idol in 2008. Borgella died October 18, 2014, due to a rare form of endometrial cancer that had spread to her brain.

Joanne Borgella
Bornc. 1982
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Died(2014-10-18)October 18, 2014 (aged 32)
Occupation(s)Singer, model
Years active2008–2014


Early lifeEdit

Borgella was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, to an OB-GYN father and a mother who was a registered nurse. The family moved to Uniondale, New York, when she was an infant, and later to the fellow Long Island town of Oyster Bay Cove.[3] She had siblings, including an older brother, Joel.[3]


In 2008, she auditioned for the talent search reality television show American Idol. After successfully completing "Hollywood week", she was chosen to be one of the top 12 girls and overall top 24 final contestants for the seventh season. Her musical influences were Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Alanis Morissette and Andrea Bocelli. Borgella was eliminated on February 21, 2008, along with Colton Berry, Garrett Haley and Amy Davis.

She was "Miss F.A.T." 2005, and the first season winner of Mo'Nique's Fat Chance. Borgella was represented by Wilhelmina Models 10/20 division in New York and Miami.{{cn{{ She had been the face of Torrid, Ashley Stewart, Wal-Mart and Kohls department store and appeared advertisements featured in Seventeen, Essence and InStyle, among others.[citation needed] She was also one of the faces of Procter & Gamble a new campaign that many are calling a "movement" directed at the African American woman, "My Black is Beautiful".[citation needed]

Borgella appeared as a coach on MTV's Made in 2011.[4] In 2013 Borgella joined the cast of NUVOtv's show Curvy Girls.[5]

She had been a resident of Hoboken, New Jersey.[6]

Illness and deathEdit

In October 2013, Borgella posted a video stating she had been diagnosed with cancer.[7] She said she was suffering from severe headaches and, upon going to the emergency room to determine the cause of those headaches, discovered that cancer had spread to her brain. Borgella died early on October 18, 2014, at age 32.[1]

American Idol performancesEdit

Week # Theme Song Choice Original Artist Order # Result
Top 24 (12 Women) 1960s "I Say a Little Prayer" Dionne Warwick 2 Eliminated


  1. ^ a b Rothman, Michael (October 20, 2014). "'American Idol' Contestant Joanne Borgella Dies at 32". ABC News. Archived from the original on April 19, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  2. ^ Schapiro, Rich (February 17, 2008). "Plus-sized 'American Idol' ambitions". Daily News. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Fuller, Nicole (October 19, 2014). "Joanne Borgella, 'American Idol' contestant who grew up on Long Island, dies at 32". Newsday. New York/Long Island. Archived from the original on April 19, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018. (subscription required)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Curvy Girls Returns To NuvoTV for A Second Season".
  6. ^ "Hoboken Now exclusive: Joanne Borgella interview". February 15, 2008. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  7. ^ Editor-In-Chief, Stephanie Penn. "'American Idol' Alum & Plus Size Model Joanne Borgella Dies At 32". Archived from the original on 2014-10-19.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

External linksEdit