Charlotte Dawson was found dead of an apparent suicide in February 22, 2014. The New Zealand-born model and fashion expert made a living setting fashion trends and appearing on television across New Zealand and Australia.
Her bright personality and professional success hid a darker secret in her personal life, one that eventually led to her unfortunate suicide.
As family, friends, colleagues and fans around the world mourn her loss, the following are 10 reasons the world will never forget the life of Charlotte Dawson.
1. Her Whirlwind Early Life
When children are young they enter this world as a clean slate.
How children are mentored and what happens to them as a young child can often set them on an irreversible course that dictates the rest of their life.
Charlotte Dawson was put up for adoption at birth by her biological parents and could have ended up on the wrong path were in not for the kind, open hearts of her adoptive parents.
With the backing of wonderful people, Charlotte grew up in a happy home in Auckland, New Zealand.
Then at the age of 16 she set off on a whirlwind course that took her to Europe and then New York City in search of a career in modeling.
2. Her Almost Immediate Success
Charlotte’s keen eye for fashion played naturally into her career in modeling and fashion.
She got her big start as a member of Ford Models in New York City.
After 10 years in that role, she moved to Australia where she would become a fixture in the fashion scene down under.
By 1997 she was working as the beauty and fashion director at Woman’s Day.
She would go on to become a fashion correspondent on Australian television programs such as Good Morning Australia, E! News, Beauty and the Beast, and other guest spots on Burke’s Backyard and Simply the Best.
3. Her Olympic Appearance
The grandest stage in the world opens with the beginning of Summer and Winter Olympic games.
When the 2000 Summer Olympics came to Sydney, Australia it was just the second time that an Olympic games had been held in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first time in almost half a century.
With the eyes of the world on Sydney as the new Millennium was getting underway, Charlotte Dawson was there shining brightly in the spotlight.
As the face of Peter Morrissey’s fashion label in 2000, she was featured in the fashion section of the opening ceremony at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
4. Her Television Career
The world of entertainment is full of examples of individuals who have successfully transitioned from one career field to another.
As she got older, Charlotte was able to parlay her success as a model and her keen fashion sense into multiple high profile television appearances in New Zealand and Australia.
Among the larger roles she landed were the hosting duties on Foxtel’s Runway to L.A. and a 2012 appearance as a contestant on the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice Australia.
No role was bigger, however, than her long-running position as a judge (seasons 3-8) on Australia’s Next Top Model.
5. Her Marriage and Divorce
Charlotte was married just once in her life, but it would be one of the greatest focal points in her life when outsiders examined her life later on.
In 1999, she married silver medal-winning Australian swimmer Scott Miller.
The couple would only be married for a year, with Charlotte filing for divorce in 2000 after allegations that Miller had had an affair.
Miller denied the allegations that he had cheated on Charlotte, and though she would later insist he was the love of her life, the two never remarried or reconciled what occurred during their brief marriage.
In the aftermath of her failed marriage, Charlotte even sued her former employers at Women’s Day for its coverage of her divorce.
6. Her Battle with Depression
For such a bright and successful person, Charlotte Dawson fought a long battle with unseen inner demons that would eventually lead to her death.
In a tell-all biography entitled “Air Kiss and Tell,” Charlotte identified an abortion procedure during her marriage to Miller as the probable starting point in her battle with depression.
In the book, she admitted to having the abortion because any pregnancy would interfere with Miller’s preparation for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
From there she would struggle through numerous highs and lows in her battle against depression.
Although she appeared to maintain strong professional momentum, even advocating against bullying on the talk show circuit, it was clear her personal life was still being rocked by depression.
7. Her Twitter Battle
Perhaps the defining moment in her battle with depression played out on the most public of stages, Twitter.
In a long-running battle with so-called “Twitter trolls,” Charlotte engaged in a heated back and forth with numerous trolls launching “ferocious” death threats against her on Twitter.
At the height of the battle, Charlotte signed off Twitter saying “you win” followed by a tweet showing pills in her hand and the tag “hope this ends the misery.”
In the aftermath of the battle, Charlotte was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital’s Psychiatric Emergency Care Center following a reported suicide attempt.
One of the contestants on Australia’s Next Top Model had apparently discovered Charlotte and notified authorities.
8. Her Death
In the wake of her suicide attempt in September 2012, it appeared that Charlotte was going to be able to ride out the wave of death threats and criticism in the media.
In 2013 she teamed with the National Rugby League as an anti-bullying ambassador.
That followed her taking on a role as the face of the anti-bullying organization Angels Goal in late 2012.
Unfortunately, her personal life was not as squared away as her professional life.
On February 22, 2014 she was found dead in her home in Woolloomooloo, New South Wales.
A real estate agent attempting to contact her ahead of an auction for the property found Charlotte, who had hanged to death.
9. Her Memorial Service
For all the emotional struggles that Charlotte faced, she was undoubtedly a very loved and appreciated woman who had more friends and associates than most can hope to have.
When her memorial service was held in the days following her death, an eclectic group of friends, family, and associates numbering 300 in total gathered to throw a memorial befitting Charlotte’s life.
With an atmosphere that felt more like a party celebrating life than a service mourning a life lost, drag queens, TV stars and fashion designers mingled with rugby players, charity workers, supermodels and some of Australia’s most powerful businessmen.
10. Her Final Fashion Statement
From the time she was a 16 year old leaving home in search of a modeling career, to her final moments, Charlotte was nothing if not a fashion queen.
Her career was built on modeling top of the line fashion, setting fashion trends with her choices, and guiding the next generation of models through the world of fashion.
At her memorial service, Charlotte’s two sisters (Robin and Vicki) announced to the crowd that in true fashion Charlotte had been cremated wearing a top of the line tangerine gown from designer Alex Perry.
Her sisters then brought laughter and applause to the event when they revealed a shoe bag containing her remains at the party stating that “she hated missing out on a party.”