WARNING: This post deals with suicide and depression and may be upsetting for some readers.
Charlotte Dawson conducted her final television interview only six weeks before her death.
The 47-year-old TV presenter and former model’s final interview – which took place at a retreat in Bali, as she took some time out to regroup – has been revealed on Channel 7’s Sunday Night this evening.
Sunday Night has worked to piece together the final six weeks of her life, before Dawson was found dead in her apartment in February. They also interviewed her sisters Vicky and Robin as well as her close friend and fashion designer Alex Perry.
Charlotte’s interview was a candid and open discussion of her heartbreak and battle with depression. With the power of hindsight, every one of her words seem to take on new meaning. She spoke openly about her depression, the vitriol she faced from internet trolls and her struggles to find meaningful and lasting employment.
Throughout the interview, Charlotte spoke about wanting to make a “fresh start” in 2014, but according to her friends, her optimism was a performance, a charade. Beneath her seeming confidence and bravado, Charlotte was scared and sad.
“She was fearful because when she was trying to put the positive spin on it and the bright eyes, talk of the future, the eyebrows going up — that was Charlotte performing,” Alex Perry told Sunday Night.
“I’m looking down the barrel of an unemployment gun and the bullet’s gone off,” Charlotte said from Bali. “I can’t be fearful, that’s my worst enemy… It’s everybody’s worst enemy: fear of the future, especially when you don’t have one to look at.”
After quitting Foxtel’s Australia’s Next Top Model, Dawson was struggling to find other consistent work in the television industry. It is believed she was suffering from financial stresses at the time of her death and was about $80,000 in debt. She was found dead on the day her Sydney apartment was going to be auctioned off.
Sunday Night covered the early years of Charlotte’s life, speaking to her sisters, Vicky and Robin. Charlotte was adopted when her teenage birth mother gave her up for adoption.
She had a mostly happy childhood in New Zealand, until she was sexually abused at the hands of an elderly neighbour. Her sister Robin says that she believes this may have affected Charlotte for the rest of her life.
Robin thought that deep down, Charlotte may have harboured guilt over the incident. This is not uncommon amongst child abuse victims, who often feel they somehow invited the abuse.
According to her sisters, Charlotte was never troubled by the fact that she was adopted but her desire to create a family of her own certainly shaped her adult life.
Charlotte told Sunday Night, “I don’t have a partner, I don’t have my mother or father, I don’t have any family in Australia, I don’t have anything. I’m just me and so I don’t have that shoulder to cry on at night.”
Charlotte had an abortion in 1999 while with Olympic swimmer Scott Miller, a decision that she said deeply affected her. Shortly after they married, Charlotte discovered that Scott Miller had cheated on her and the couple split-up.
Charlotte had said at various points in the past – and her family reiterated this view in their interview with Sunday Night – that this was when they first began to see signs of Charlotte’s depression emerging.