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Perry finds show hard without pal Dawson

AAP logoAAP 20/09/2016 Danielle McGrane

Two years on from Charlotte Dawson's death, her friend and Australia's Next Top Model colleague Alex Perry says it's been hard filming the series without her.

During the ninth season of the show, which filmed last year, a succession of guest judges including Megan Gale and Kelly Osbourne were brought in instead of one permanent judge, out of respect for Dawson.

"I felt her absence acutely last season," Perry told AAP.

"It was not fun. I was so used to looking down the other end of the desk and she'd look at me with a glint in her eye, or I'd be a bit cheeky, and we knew that we were going to do something.

"If I was going to say `I love this girl', she'd say `Well, I don't like her' - it was almost like we were going to play, so I kind of lost my playmate in that sense," he said.

Dawson had been a judge on the Fox8 show alongside Perry.

In 2014, Dawson took her own life after a battle with depression and after becoming a target of bullies on social media.

"She really copped that, that online cyberbullying, and just verbal abuse ... and it really affected her and it was a big part in what plagued her," Perry said.

The designer said he thinks the online trolls and cyberbullies who targeted Dawson were partly responsible for her death, and should be held accountable.

"I hate those people that did that because it's like `You know what, you didn't finish her off but you had a really big part in it, and you are culpable, you really are'," he said.

"What I say might sound a bit brutal to those people but I'm like `You know what you deserve, you need to be accountable for your actions'."

Australia's Next Top Model's 10th season is about to premiere and Megan Gale has been brought in as the first permanent judge since Dawson's death.

The model was a friend of Dawson's which gives Perry some comfort.

"It was like somebody who loved her was sitting in for her," he said.

Gale also matches Perry for cheekiness and as friends they can be very honest with each other.

Along with host Jennifer Hawkins, it seems anything goes between the three of them.

"We're mates, so we can say anything to each other," he said.

* Australia's Next Top Model returns on Tuesday at 7.30pm (AEST) on FOX8.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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