As Australia comes to grips with the tragic death of popular TV personality Charlotte Dawson, Bendigo Advertiser journalist CHRIS PEDLER recalls the day he sat down with the former model on the day of the Astra Awards...
THE one time I met Charlotte Dawson was before the 2013 Astra Awards.
Like the rest of Australia, I had watched as she confronted anonymous online "trolls" and her confidence was something that was somewhat intimidating.
But as I sat down to interview her about the eighth season of Australia's Next Top Model, she was vigorously brushing a fake hair weave she was planning on wearing at the awards ceremony that night.
Despite prepping herself for a night of fun and frivolity, she showed me her outfit and the shoes Australia's Next Top Model host Jennifer Hawkins had lent her.
But when the questions started, Charlotte was a true professional through the interview and spoke wonderfully well.
She was knowledgeable and proud to be mentoring young models in the early stage of her career.
She said she "loved being busy".
It is tragic that Charlotte's life has ended this way.
It was clear in the brief meeting I had with her that she was passionate about everything she did.
As far as I know, Charlotte only visited Bendigo once when Australia's Next Top Model (season 6) was auditioning for hopefuls.
Charlotte helped select six Bendigo hopefuls, one going on to reach the top 16 before being eliminated in the first episode.
And for all the models who went on the Next Top Model journey in front of Charlotte, she adores each one.
"I was the failed model who wished I had the opportunities those girls had," she said.
"I did it the wrong way but luckily they listen to me and I can mentor them after the series has finished."
She also adored her fellow judges including Alex Perry who she regularly butted heads with on the show.
"Alex and I are the stalwarts, I compare us to the old men from the Muppets who argue all the time," she said.
Describing Jennifer Hawkins as the "goddess next door", Charlotte said she was brilliant and that everyone related to her.
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