Warning: this post mentions suicide and may be triggering for some readers.
Most people that have spoken out since the death of the effervescent Charlotte Dawson have opened with how they came to know her.
My story is a little different. It was a while before I actually met Charlotte in person.
She was however one of the first people to get in touch with me after I was evicted from the Big Brother house last September, worried how I would handle the huge amount of online backlash I was about to be exposed to.
“Doll, don’t read a word of it. It’s all bullshit anyway.”
And let’s be honest, she would know.
I remember being shocked and deeply saddened to learn that Charlotte had been taken to hospital in August 2012 after one night of particularly brutal online attacks from gutless trolls and internet nobodies.
“How could someone let absolute strangers get to them like that?” I thought to myself.
Unfortunately for me, I now understand better than most.
The first time I met Charlotte, I had just finished a segment on MORNINGS and she was waiting to me to come off set.
She held her heels in her hands and stood barefoot but looked incredible as always.
“I heard you were on today and I raced down from hair and make up to catch you before you left. Look at you, aren’t you gorgeous!”
I was quietly starstruck. Having watched her as a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model for years, I knew full-well she was Australian royalty and wasn’t surprised to discover she was just as commanding and glowing in person as she was on screen.
It wasn’t long until our paths crossed again, at an Alfa Romeo event the following week.
“When this is over, come up to mine for some champagne.”
She spent the night introducing me to her friends, cuddling me up on her outside lounge, offering me priceless career advice and slapping my hands away from her cigarette when I kept asking for just one drag (as I tended to do when I’d had a few).
“Bloody well have your own one- here!” and gave me an entire packet of cigarettes. You didn’t have to know Charlotte for long to witness how generous she was as a person.
I still blame her for my pounding hangover the next day.
The next I heard from her was via a Twitter DM. “I want you to be my date to this event next Wednesday.” I didn’t even like NRL but I wasn’t about to turn down a date with the Charlotte Dawson.
Whilst my love affair with Charlotte was brief and fleeting, my goodness her loss was felt. It’s been six days and I still haven’t been able to shake the goosebumps that run up and down my legs. I can only imagine the pain and heartache those closest to her are suffering right now.