Joanne Borgella

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Joanne Borgella
Born May 29, 1982
Oyster Bay Cove, New York
Died October 18, 2014(2014-10-18) (aged 32)
Occupation(s) Singer, model
Years active 2008–2014

Joanne Borgella (May 29, 1982 – October 18, 2014) 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[1] 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.

Early life[edit]

Joanne Borgella is of Haitian descent. She was originally from Oyster Bay Cove, Long Island, New York. At the age of 13 she attended Union School in Haiti where her father, Dr. Joel Borgella, ran for President in the 2006 presidential elections. Her father is the founder of Radio Tropicale, the first international Haitian radio station. Borgella went on to attend private school at the Academy of St. Joseph's in Long Island for her last two years of high school and graduated in 2000. Her mother's name is Danielle Ford. She began singing at three and performing at 13 she was working in Bugga Basements with Wyclef Jean.[citation needed]


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 winner of Oxygen network's number one show Mo'Nique's Fat Chance season one. Borgella was represented by Wilhelmina Models 10/20 division in New York and Miami. 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. 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".

Borgella appeared as a coach on MTV's Made in 2011.[2] In 2013 Borgella joined the cast of NUVOtv's hit show Curvy Girls.[3]

She had been a resident of Hoboken, New Jersey.[4]

Illness and death[edit]

In October 2013, Borgella shared a video alerting her fans that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Through a series of videos, Borgella continued to update those following her journey. "It's a rare case because it's spread to my chest," Borgella shared during her first video, "but it's really not about a stage [of disease]. God is with me and I feel His presence every day. I just wanted to share this information with everyone to let them know what I'm going through and I'm going to update everyone every week as much as I can."[5]

Borgella shared that she was suffering from extremely severe headaches and, upon going to the emergency room to determine the cause of those headaches, she discovered that the cancer had spread to her brain. Borgella died on October 18, 2014 at 5:45 a.m.,[5] at the age of 32.

American Idol performances[edit]

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


  1. ^ Schapiro, Rich (17 February 2008). "Plus-sized 'American Idol' ambitions". Daily News. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Daily Venus Diva. "Curvy Girls Returns To NuvoTV for A Second Season". 
  4. ^ Staff. "Hoboken Now exclusive: Joanne Borgella interview", Hoboken Now, February 15, 2008. Accessed February 6, 2013. "American Idol hopeful Joanne Borgella took a break from rehearsals in Hollywood last night to talk to Hoboken Now about her home town, how she got her start in music, and her hopes for the future."
  5. ^ a b Editor-In-Chief, Stephanie Penn. "'American Idol' Alum & Plus Size Model Joanne Borgella Dies At 32". 

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