Tabloid Darling in a Gold Gucci Minidress Who Partied Her Way to the Dark Side of Celebrity

Daily Mail (London), November 14, 2012 | Go to article overview

Tabloid Darling in a Gold Gucci Minidress Who Partied Her Way to the Dark Side of Celebrity


Byline: by Ali Bracken Crime Correspondent

FAME, money and adoration, Katy French wanted it all. But in tragically typical Celtic Tiger fashion, it all came crashing down, ending quickly and fatally for the socialite and model.

She had become known to the public for the many fashion shoots she posed for but ended up dying at the age of 24 in hospital, four days after she fell into a drug-induced coma on December 2, 2007.

Exactly one week before she died, Miss French posed outside Krystle nightclub on Dublin's Harcourt Street as photographers swarmed around her for her 24th birthday party.

With her 21-year-old sister Jill beside her, she looked on top of the world, unstoppable.

The blonde's gold Gucci mini-dress shimmered as it bounced off the cameras' flash, her smile never wavered. Her hair was expertly tousled and her [euro]700 shoes matched her huge gold earrings.

The first 11 months of 2007 was the year of Katy French. After building up a reputation as the tabloids' favourite PR model, she had gone on to become one of the media's IT girls and was on the cusp of launching a TV career when she died.

By December, her celebrity reached meteoric levels that even Miss French could never have imagined. But she never got to enjoy it, because by then her life had been cut short.

Miss French had followed the 'how to be a successful model' handbook to the letter. She was seen at all the right nightspots and with the right boyfriend on her arm.

But her death happened just as the Celtic Tiger bubble was beginning to burst and her story has become a warning to other young people to stay away from drugs.

On the day of her birthday party, Miss French told the gaggle of journalists outside that she wasn't drinking due to a kidney infection.

SHE got into a brief argument with an Irish Daily Mail journalist outside Krystle, when asked about recent comments in which she admitted using cocaine in the past. She refused to answer the questions - despite having recently discussed the matter at length - and went inside.

The guests invited to the party were under strict instructions to delete any photos taken in the VIP area as the ambitious young woman wanted only the photos she chose to make their way into the newspapers.

From a PR point of view, the party was a roaring success. Many of the tabloids splashed Miss French's photo on their front page the following day and every newspaper covered it except The Irish Times.

Such significant media interest in an Irish model does not come about overnight.

Miss French worked hard to warrant that level of publicity and she astutely manoeuvred her way into the Irish public's psyche.

She was born in Switzerland to a British mother Janet and Australian father John, and the family moved to Ireland when she was two.

She attended the affluent Alexandra College in Milltown, Dublin, from the age of seven.

Defying the bimbo model stereotype, she had studied psychology and French in college before joining the Assets agency.

Once she had set her mind on this career path, she pursued it with enthusiasm and determination.

But while she was a familiar face in the social columns on the arm of her fiance, restaurateur Marcus Sweeney, it was the explosive end to their turbulent relationship that elevated her from just another blonde model to one the public wanted to see and read about. The couple split after he caught her modelling lingerie for a Sunday newspaper in his restaurant.

By 2007, as well as her photo regularly appearing in newspapers, she also began to write articles for various magazines and had a column in Social And Personal.

She spoke freely about the breakdown of her relationship with Mr Sweeney on Tubridy Tonight just a couple of weeks before her death.

Miss French was savvy enough to make comments in the media that she knew would fuel her rising celebrity, such as discussing her sex toy preferences. …

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