Auckland, New Zealand
Model, TV Personality
Claim to Fame
Getaway, Australia's Next Top Model
Charlotte Dawson (8 April 1966 – 22 February 2014) was a New Zealand–Australian television personality. Her death by suicide attracted Australia-wide news coverage. She was known in New Zealand for her roles as host of Getaway, and in Australia as a host on The Contender Australia and as a judge on Australia's Next Top Model.
Has Detailed Data (New)
Place of Death
Woolloomooloo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cause of Death
Profile Bio Text
Charlotte Dawson (8 April 1966 – 22 February 2014) was a New Zealand–Australian television personality. She was known in New Zealand for her roles as host of Getaway, and in Australia as a host on The Contender Australia and as a judge on Australia's Next Top Model.
Dawson left New Zealand at age 16 to model in Europe and with Ford Models in New York City. A decade later she relocated to Australia where she became a familiar face on the Australian fashion scene.
In 1997, she became beauty and fashion director for Woman's Day and soon after became style editor for New Idea magazine. In 2000, she was the face of the Peter Morrissey fashion label, presenting her own fashion segment weekly on Good Morning Australia for Network Ten, and featuring in the fashion section of Sydney's Olympic Games opening ceremony. She was the fashion correspondent for Channel Ten's entertainment programme E! News and also a regular panellist on the network's hit daytime show Beauty and the Beast, and guest on Burke's Backyard and Channel Nine's Simply The Best.
While working for Australian agencies Cameron's and Priscilla's as an agent, she decided to try her hand at TV. She became a researcher at Nine Network and worked on programs such as Money and Looking Good. Shortly after she became fashion editor for the network's Today program, filing weekly reports on local and international fashion news and events within the industry. Magazines such as Vogue, Elle, She, Dolly, Cleo and Mode tracked Dawson's progress, featuring her in fashion spreads.
She had many appearances as a "celebrity model" at fashion shows, regular appearances on The Footy Show, a spot guest fashion commentator for Nine's Wide World of Sports and several hosting and MC jobs at media events.
Dawson returned to Auckland in 2002 where she had presenting roles on TVNZ's chat show How's Life?, and Prime's Getaway and Charlotte's Lists.
In 2008, she was a host on FOX8's Australia's Next Top Model for the Live Finale of the show, as a last minute replacement for regular host Jodhi Meares.
In 2007, she settled out of court with the Woman's Day magazine, after she sued the magazine over its coverage of her divorce from former Olympic swimmer Scott Miller.
She also hosted the Foxtel series Runway to L.A.
In 2012, she appeared as one of the 'celebrity' contestants, raising money for her chosen charity on the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice Australia. August 2012 saw a new period of media unrest for Dawson, following an interview with New Zealand's Herald on Sunday about her thoughts on her former home. "New Zealand is small, nasty and vindictive. It's a tiny, little village ... a tiny country at the end of the earth," she said'.
In 2012, Dawson was admitted to St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney after attempting to commit suicide due to a much publicised battle with Twitter trolls. Dawson was rushed to hospital after being found in a fragile state by a former Australia's Next Top Model finalist. Dawson was made the target of an organised online campaign of harassment in part due to her involvement with an anti-cyber-bullying initiative Community Brave.
Some in the media suggested that Dawson's campaign could be considered a double standard due to her aggressive television persona and her history of discouraging contestants on Australia's Next Top Model. Peter Ford from Melbourne's 3AW suggested that "the problem of Charlotte taking on this cause is her act's about abusing people and putting them down so it becomes a bit murky as to why she's become a champion of this particular cause".
A representative for Community Brave identified one of Dawson's Twitter trolls as Tanya Heti, an employee of Melbourne's Monash University. Community Brave reported the incident to Heti's employer and she was stood down without pay. She was reinstated shortly afterwards after the University found she was not guilty of misconduct.
Dawson then appeared on Channel Seven's Seven News in order to expose the alleged social media trolls. Dawson insists that she was not involved with conducting the research for the story, and that she was only acting as person confronting the alleged trolls on camera.
An intense promotional campaign and launch of Dawson's biography began two weeks after her appearance on Channel Seven. Dawson was heavily criticised in the media after broadcasting disparaging remarks on AFL footballer's partners as a part of her role as a fashion expert for television coverage of the AFL's Brownlow Medal.
On 30 January 2014, Dawson encouraged New Zealand singer Lorde to leave New Zealand, telling radio presenter Mike Hosking that "Unless you're very mediocre you need to get out of there – you just have to if you want to keep succeeding otherwise it'll just crush your spirit."
In 2012, Dawson joined Jeff Fenech as the spokesperson and face of anti-bullying organisation Angels Goal.
On 22 February 2014, Dawson committed suicide in her Woolloomooloo, New South Wales home. Police confirmed that they were called to the home at 11:18 am and that there were no suspicious circumstances to the death. Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key said he was "shocked" and "saddened" by Dawson's death, while Australian fashion designer Alex Perry said of her "We lost a beautiful, bright, shining girl today".
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