Annalise’s haunting calls before death
ANNALISE Braakensiek had a big and bubbly personality. She was sweet, loving and full of energy - that's exactly how those close to the model remember her.
But the mother of the late model has claimed her daughter got caught up in the Bondi Beach culture and was obsessed with perfecting her Instagram in the months leading up to her unexpected death.
Braakensiek was the Aussie girl known for her beach-blonde looks and luminous figure - all the traits to attract international attention - and she did, leading a successful career not only here in Australia as an actor and model but abroad as a presenter and cover girl on reputable magazines.
However, behind the smiles and her great success was a woman who battled with depression for about 15 years. One of the toughest years was 2018, which Braakensiek described before her death as "turbulent".
On Sunday, January 6, 2019, Braakensiek was found dead in her Sydney harbourside apartment by police at about 3.30pm. Officers treated the death as "non-suspicious".
Before her death, she was focused on rebuilding her life, particularly after the breakdown of her marriage in April last year.
She'd promised her fans that once she settled into her new abode she would return to cooking and sharing her new jewellery designs and "being a general all around mega Vikingess".
But according to Sunday Night, the mother of the blonde-haired beauty had became stuck in a lifestyle she couldn't maintain - and her obsessive quest for perfection was taking a heavy mental toll.
"I never looked at her Facebook, I never looked at her Instagram because it upset me," her mother told Sunday Night.
"Because it wasn't true. On Instagram, she'd put a post like that, she'd ring me and say, 'I'm so depressed, I can't breathe'."
knew her obsessive quest for perfection was taking a heavy mental toll
After a successful modelling career and a stint in television, Braakensiek, 46, turned to Instagram to share what appeared to be a picture-perfect life with her fans, but her mother said it was far from reality, and she couldn't understand the environment her daughter had become obsessed with.
Ms Stevens told the program Braakensiek often got distracted by the lifestyle and would lose touch.
"I'd ring her every day, and often she wouldn't answer the phone and wouldn't send a message for quite a while, and it's the hardest thing in the world," she said.
Fellow model and actor Ayesha Rose, who allegedly met Braakensiek at the height of her fame, told the program Braakensiek had put a lot of physical stress on herself to look the part - saying she tried to "shake" her friend out of the world she was stuck in.
"She worked out so much. I did see her stress a lot about the angle of the picture, her hair or... it was a lot of stress for something that didn't really matter. She looked great anyway," Rose said.
"I think in any scene there are drugs involved. There's a lot of alcohol, and if that's being done regularly, you're not going to be thinking straight, you're going to be depressed."
But her mother believes she wasn't killed by her depression. She blames a fatal accident caused by the Bondi culture of drug use.
"I believe that she went out New Year's Eve, and she partied and partied, and she made a fatal mistake with what she ingested," Ms Stevens told the program.
Paul Fenech, the creator of TV show Fat Pizza - which Ms Braakensiek starred in - remembers the late model as a sweet, loving person who was down-to-earth.
Fenech referred to the old cliche of "be careful of what you wish for" in discussing his former colleague's downfall.
"And you think it's gonna be great, but it comes with … the pressure of kind of keeping your image just weighs on you all the time. You know, for some people, it's very hard. Some people can't deal with it," he said.
If you need help with depression, please see Beyond Blue for a list of organisations that can help.