Macleay College journalism lecturer Fiona West speaks to The Newsroom about her thoughts on Charlotte Dawson’s death.
Ms West worked with Charlotte Dawson at New Idea in 1999 and covered her lavish wedding to swimmer Scott Miller for the magazine.
She said she was shocked and extremely saddened by Charlotte’s death.
“There are not enough adjectives to describe Charlotte Dawson: intelligent, energetic, quick-witted, generous, compassionate, raw. She had such a big personality and strong presence – people either loved her or hated her. Those who knew her could only ever love her,” she said.
Ms West contacted Charlotte last year through the medium she was most renowned for – Twitter – to pass on her congratulations on her autobiographical book Air Kiss and Tell: “I really admire your honesty and resilience. Thanks for sharing,” she tweeted.
“Her life really was an open book and so many people felt they had a right to comment on it, so it was fitting that she should pull it together on her own terms,” Ms West said.
Charlotte’s candid approach to life and her wicked sense of humour saw people easily embrace the vivacious celebrity.
“People really enjoyed the fact that she didn’t take herself seriously,” Ms West said. “She was outrageously hilarious. She’d think nothing of dropping her pants in the middle of the office to show you her liposuction bruises or lifting her shirt to show off the scars from her well-publicised plastic surgery.
“And I’ll never forget the day she was so fed up with her hair extensions she just grabbed her hair in a ponytail and the closest pair of office scissors and told a fellow journalist to ‘Cut it off! Cut it off!’.
“At her wedding I remember her doing the exact same thing in the bathroom of Quay restaurant with her Peter Morrissey-designed veil because it was annoying her. She had a real ‘to hell with it, why not?’ kind of attitude.”
Ms West said Charlotte was in her thoughts as she watched the 60 Minutes interview with Scott Miller last Sunday.
“I actually said to my husband while we were watching it: ‘I wonder how Charlotte will handle this?’ She was deeply in love with him when they were married and their divorce led to a very hard period in her life, which she documented in her book.
“It seemed for a while she had really come out the other end and. I was really happy for her that everything had seemed to go full circle.
“When it came to dealing with her depression, cyber-bullying and her suicide attempt, I thought she was really brave to speak about it publicly.
“I think she will now unfortunately be remembered by many for her death – but for those who had the privilege of knowing her, she will definitely be remembered for her life, and for being larger than life.”
Image from Eva Rinaldi’s Flickr photostream.
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