Charlotte Dawson. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Charlotte Dawson was under intense financial pressure at
the time of her sudden death yesterday.
The television personality and former model, 47, was found
dead at her luxury Sydney apartment.
Dawson's sister Vicky Dawson, an Auckland travel consultant,
spoke of the family's heartache last night.
"We're absolutely devastated," she told the Herald on Sunday.
"We miss her terribly."
She and her other sister Robin Barclay are expected to fly to
Sydney to bring Dawson's body home.
Dawson's body was found by a security guard at 11.15am local
time - just 45 minutes before her rented $1200-a-week
Woolloomooloo apartment was due to be sold at auction.
Dawson, who had long battled depression, had been unhappy
about not having any work lined up this year.
She had been axed by Australia's Next Top Model in November.
"She had major financial problems because she had no work and
no income - $1200 is a lot of money, and that hit her hard,"
said one friend.
She had been nominated for a Logie Award, Australian
television's supreme honour, but was also upset that fellow
nominees Didier Cohen and Jennifer Hawkins were being more
strongly promoted by the entertainment network Foxtel.
Her most recent boyfriend, 24-year-old Tyrone Corban, told
the Herald on Sunday he had caught up with Dawson a few days
ago and she had seemed "great" then. "She was a beautiful
person," he said.
Last night, her friends from the worlds of television and
fashion led an outpouring of shock and grief.
Fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper fought back tears as she
described Dawson as a consummate professional who suffered
from a real human condition.
"I think the thing about her was that she was always kind,
always generous, always funny and also really brave and I
think misunderstood by so many people who didn't know her."
Julia Hartley-Moore, who worked with Dawson on How's Life and
Charlotte's Web, a documentary following the search for
Dawson's biological mother described her as gorgeous.
"I used to sit next to her. I can remember looking at her and
thinking 'My God'. She was beautiful beyond beautiful. She
was just stunning, but she was troubled."
Broadcaster and Herald on Sunday columnist Kerre McIvor
worked with Dawson on How's Life and became friendly with her
away from the show.
She recalls Dawson as being vulnerable, kind and talented. "I
didn't realise how fragile she was and I always hoped she
would find the happiness she deserved and someone who would
look after her. It is very sad."
Dawson was born in Auckland on April 8, 1966.
She was adopted at birth, and at age 16 she embarked on a
decade-long modelling career in Europe and with Ford Models
in New York. She returned to Auckland in 2002 after splitting
from husband, Olympic swimmer Scott Miller.
But Dawson felt bullied and told the Herald on Sunday her
native country was "small, nasty and vindictive". Things were
no better for her in Australia, where she was viciously
attacked. "Twitter trolls" taunted her and told her she
should kill herself.
Dawson was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney in
September 2012 after an apparent suicide attempt.
But even her closest friends didn't notice the warning signs
in her final hours. She appeared on Channel Nine's Morning
Show on Friday morning, then met a close friend for lunch
She had been trying to quit alcohol and cigarettes, and
avoided those temptations at lunch. "There was no sign
something was wrong," her friend said. "Yes she suffered from
depression but she was upbeat and hopeful for the future and
interested in other people's welfare."
One of her few complaints that afternoon was money. Despite
her profile and the veneer of a lavish lifestyle she was
borrowing from friends and struggling to hold down work.
Her bank account was drying up and renting her $1200-a-week
apartment in Woolloomooloo forced friends to keep her afloat.
"The problem is Charlotte always presented well, she looked
fabulous, always had a laugh and a joke. I just didn't expect
her to go home and take her life."
She was tweeting all afternoon, until 4.41pm when she posted
a call for the government to fund hospitals better - and then
her account fell silent for the last time.
Where to get help:
- Youth services:
(06) 3555 906
0800 376 633
- Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm
to 6pm weekdays)
- Whatsup: 0800 942
8787 (noon to midnight)
helpline: 0800 111 757 (24-hour service)
Youth: (09) 376 4155
- CASPER Suicide
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else
is at risk, call 111.