Born in the USA and grew up in Italy. Before that age of 18, Jo Champa was already one of Gianni Versace's favorite models, landing in the film industry in 1986, protagonist of Claude d'Anna's feature film Salome (1986), presented at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. She then starred in Dolce assenza (1986) by Claudio Sestieri, and in The Family (1987) by Ettore Scola, in the role of Fanny Ardant as a young girl. The multi-awarded picture launched Jo in the landscape of Italy's most wanted actresses. In 1987 she starred in Massimo Troisi's Le vie del Signore sono finite (1987), soon after becoming a favorite model for Helmut Newton who 'glorified' her in his famous limited edition giant art book "Sumo." After 'Michael Anderson''s prestigious 1989 The Jeweller's Shop (1989) with Burt Lancaster, based upon a theatrical piece by Pope John Paul II, she was the lead of Damiano Damiani's Il sole buio (1990).
At the top of her career, she returned to the United States, starring in Steven Seagal's Out for Justice (1991), followed two years later by Bernardo Bertolucci's masterpiece Little Buddha (1993), and then Don Juan DeMarco (1994) by Jeremy Leven, with Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando. During the Nineties, for personal reasons, she mostly worked for television: "Walker, Texas Ranger" (1993) and "Avvocati" (1998) and more recently, Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall (2006) (TV) and Pandemic (2007) (TV). In 2001, she sided actors such as Stanley Tucci, Bridget Fonda and Giancarlo Giannini in the romantic comedy The Whole Shebang (2001) by George Zaloom; and in 2002 she co-starred with Neil Patrick Harris in the black comedy directed by Gil Cates Jr., The Mesmerist (2002). Recently, she co-starred in the TV movie Uncorked (2009) (TV) for Hallmark Channel; guest-starred in the role of Adrianna in the episode "Delko for the Defense" of CSI: Miami (2004) (VG) and finally in the Italian Christmas box-office hit _Natale a Beverly Hills (2009)_ by Neri Parenti, starring Christian De Sica, Massimo Ghini and Sabrina Ferilli. She will soon be seen in Sofia Coppola's movie Somewhere (2010) starring Benicio Del Toro.
Over the years she has become a producer, besides organizing charity events combining the worlds of film and fashion to achieve her fundraising goals, in Los Angeles (National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, Race to Erase MS, Carousel of Hope for Juvenile Diabetes, amongst others), Rome, and not only this; the Cambodian Children's Fund, an association born to offer a better life for Cambodian children, dedicated her a facility.
Her activities have earned her many awards. On October 8, 2009 at the Italian House of Representatives, in the presence of the Italian President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, she was conferred the "Premio America - Fondazione Italia Usa". A few years earlier, together with Sofia Loren, she had achieved the "Italians in the World Award," and in 2006 then Chaiman of Universal Pictures Marc Shmuger granted her the "Cinema Italian Style Award."
She works as a celebrity contributing editor for Italian magazines Vogue Italia and L'Uomo Vogue. Vogue Director Franca Sozzani defined her "an icon of Italian Style".