Queen of etiquette June Dally-Watkins dies aged 92

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Leading Australian model and businesswoman June Dally-Watkins has died. 9News

The stigma of illegitimacy lingered. Dally-Watkins wrote in her 2002 autobiography, Secrets Of My Smile, that "the hush-hush surrounding my father and my identity became deafening and continued to echo throughout my life ... So I masked my shame and buried my self-consciousness with a smile - something I've done all my life, on and off the catwalk."

June moved to Sydney, enrolled at Willoughby Girls' High School and changed her name to Dally-Watkins. The marriage did not last, but June's new surname did.Local photographer Jan Solomons, who had taken snaps of the pretty 16-year-old, suggested she try her luck as a model in Sydney. Dally-Watkins recalled her mother's reaction: "Let's go."

Dally-Watkins featured in fashion parades and catalogues for many department stores and designers. At 17 she innocently modelled "The Gasper" negligee for Mark Foy's, unaware that the bodice applique resembled groping hands. In private life she became Mrs Clifford, but in business she remained June Dally-Watkins, running the modelling agency by day, and teaching at her school at night.

In The Secrets Behind My Smile, she wrote: "I was made to feel a failure as a wife and mother, but I resolved to never give up the right to live my own life. Had I bowed to the status quo and stayed at home it would have destroyed me."


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