About 12 years ago I worked for a publishing company as their PR person.
Part of my job was running a national modelling competition for the teenage girl magazine in its stable.
Granted, a highly unlikely project for me to work on but there you have it, taking opportunities when they presented themselves.
I ran events in every state and MC’d all of the shopping mall events, which involved being on stage over the course of about six hours as the myriad starlets from Perth to Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney came with their show mummies and desperately tried to impress the judges.
There was all the media relations work which made me decide I did not want to work in PR.
There were the photo shoots, the chaperoning the finalists, the grand finale and on it went.
A great project for someone barely out of uni.
It was tragic really.
At each event I had organised for some personalities from shows like Neighbours, Home and Away, Kate Fisher and in Perth, some of the hot young and upcoming stars from a (what was to become short-lived) new drama called Sweat – about virile young things training at a national sports academy and all the shenanigans they got up to.
Two strapping young starry eyed lads turned up at the shopping centre. One was all excited like a puppy – he had an unfortunate
massive zit cyst on his face which was so hideous infected noticeably gross it ‘had stitches in it ‘ and was covered by a big ugly bandaid. Goodness knows where he is today. The other was this blonde guy with the twinkliest of eyes. He was what us ladies often refer to as H.O.T.
He was also a bit embarrassed about it all and dreadfully nervous. But we chatted and
due to my superior interviewing skills he calmed down.
I walked away from that day saying to anyone who would listen that he was going to be a star.
He was Heath Ledger.
And now he’s gone.
I didn’t know him from a bar of soap but I know he was someone’s son, someone’s father and probably many people’s friend.
I can only imagine what they are going through today and quite frankly it just breaks your heart.