When she left Marlborough College with a clutch of respectable A-levels under her belt, Anouska de Georgiou briefly thought about applying to Oxford to study law but decided to focus instead on pursuing her dreams of Hollywood stardom.
The years that followed – nearly a quarter of a century to date – have certainly been eventful and not always kind to the privately educated actress, model and socialite who briefly crossed paths with the Duchess of Cambridge while at school and now lives in the US.
In the past, she has spoken of the terrible price she paid for years spent in the unforgiving, shallow and exploitative world of modelling.
When she left Marlborough College with a clutch of respectable A-levels under her belt, Anouska de Georgiou (pictured) briefly thought about applying to Oxford to study law but decided to focus instead on pursuing her dreams of Hollywood stardom
Standing up in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday alongside 15 other women, the 42-year-old mother-of-one became the first Briton to add her voice to claims of abuse at the hands of the late US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (pictured)
‘You are just a commodity,’ she said in a 2004 interview. ‘Only a handful of models are actually very successful and the rest of the girls often have their lives destroyed. I certainly haven’t come through modelling unscathed.’
Standing up in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday alongside 15 other women, the 42-year-old mother-of-one became the first Briton to add her voice to claims of abuse at the hands of the late US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
‘I was a victim and it has taken me many, many years to stand here and say, yes, it was me,’ she said. ‘I will not remain a victim and be silent for one more day.’
Anouska gave no details about how or when she’d met Epstein or the nature of the abuse but the brief statement she gave while addressing Judge Richard Berman in New York was just the tip of what may yet prove to be a very explosive iceberg indeed. For millionaire’s daughter Anouska, as the Mail can reveal, has dated some of the world’s richest, most powerful and famous men.
Among those she crossed paths with, if several newspaper articles stretching back to the late 1990s are correct, is US President Donald Trump. Anouska is said to have met the then 50-year-old property developer at a Manhattan party in 1997 after he had separated from his wife Marla Maples. She was then 20 years old and attended the event with Robert Maxwell’s daughter Ghislaine, a close friend and former lover of Epstein’s.
The men Anouska has been linked to are varied. Delve into her romantic past and you find a relationship of several months with Baywatch star David Hasselhoff (pictured) in 2010 and another with TV star Russell Brand in 2012
An article published in 1997 under the headline ‘Trump’s Brit of alright’ reported: ‘After their meeting, Trump flew Madam Maxwell and the model south to the sunshine state [to his estate at Mar-a-Lago in Florida] where all three enjoyed a happy weekend together.’
In later years, Anouska appears to have played down her meeting with Trump. In a 2004 interview she said: ‘I met Donald Trump in New York at a Bulgari party. We chatted and I was genuinely flattered.’
Trump’s lawyers maintain he was unaware of any wrongdoing by Epstein and the President has said he was ‘not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein’. Anouska has spoken about Trump in favourable terms, the last time in a 2008 interview with OK! magazine when she said: ‘We’re friends now and I attended his wedding. He’s adorable, he’s been so kind to me. He’s such a generous-spirited person.’
Another of Epstein’s alleged victims has recalled her time at the President’s Mar-a-Lago club but in very different circumstances. Epstein owned a mansion in Palm Beach not far from the Trump resort and his main accuser Virginia Roberts says she was recruited into sexual slavery aged 15 by Maxwell while working there as a towel girl.
The men Anouska has been linked to are varied. Delve into her romantic past and you find a relationship of several months with Baywatch star David Hasselhoff in 2010 and another with TV star Russell Brand in 2012.
Back in 2002, she was stepping out with Simply Red star Mick Hucknall and in 2003 US actor and TV presenter Jared Leto. In 2005 she was linked to millionaire Australian businessman Wayne Sharpe, as well as media company boss David Fischer and private jet entrepreneur Rob Hersov. The following year she was said to have dated Blue singer Lee Ryan and Prison Break actor Amaury Nolasco. She has also been married to Chelsea restaurateur Riccardo Mariti and once shared a flat in Notting Hill with Formula One driver Burgo Wharton.
She also once crossed paths with Harvey Weinstein at the Mayfair restaurant Cipriani. She later recalled how she didn’t recognise him, mistaking him for a jobbing actor she thought was called ‘Harry Winstone’.
Back in 2002, she was stepping out with Simply Red star Mick Hucknall (pictured)
‘I asked him what he did and he said: ‘I’m in the movies.’ I said: ‘Wow, so am I! We should meet up some time. I know loads of people out in LA!’ At this point, he very sweetly smiled and turned away. Only later did my friend explain who he was.’
As the daughter of multi-millionaire financier Anthony de Georgiou and former debutante Barbara, life has been a social whirlwind for Anouska almost since her birth in 1977.
Her parents divorced when she was ten and she grew up with her mother, dividing her time between the Cap d’Antibes in the south of France – where she attended school until her teens – and Belgravia in London where her mother ran a jewellery business. ‘As a child, I would watch my mother who was, and is, a very beautiful woman, and I would see the attention she’d get,’ she said in 2004. ‘I would think to myself, ‘I want that’.’
There is little doubt that her dream came true. As a 17-year-old she entered the world of modelling while dating Robert Hanson, 17 years her senior, the son of the late business tycoon Lord Hanson. It was during a party at his house in Gloucestershire that she met Plum Sykes, the fashion journalist and socialite who introduced her to the late fashion designer Isabella Blow – and her career took off from there.
‘I was in the right place at the right time among a pretty select crowd,’ Anouska said in 2002, ‘but that’s not to say I wouldn’t have made it on my own. While I was lucky to meet Isabella, I was also incredibly ambitious and grasped my opportunities.’
She was signed to the agency Models One and for her first catwalk show, aged 18, at Paris Fashion Week, she was dressed in a see-through outfit.
From the late 1990s onwards, her blonde bombshell looks meant she was rarely out of work – or out of newspaper gossip columns. She lapped up more attention when she briefly appeared naked alongside Jude Law in the 2004 remake of Alfie.
On the back of that she was also commissioned to take part in the Channel 4 reality TV series California Dreaming, about a group of young Britons sharing a house in LA while trying to crack Hollywood.
From the late 1990s onwards, her blonde bombshell looks meant she was rarely out of work – or out of newspaper gossip columns. She lapped up more attention when she briefly appeared naked alongside Jude Law in the 2004 remake of Alfie
But her beauty has not always been a blessing. Years before her allegations about Epstein, she talked about exploitation at the hands of older men
She appeared frequently in the tabloids, often posing in sexy lingerie or, one occasion, in a ‘naughty maid’ outfit. She claimed in interviews that, having grown up in the South of France, she was relaxed about nudity ‘as long as it’s done tastefully’, adding: ‘It’s empowering to pose nude – after all, the female body can be a very beautiful thing.’ She also described herself as a ‘flirting expert’.
But her beauty has not always been a blessing. Years before her allegations about Epstein, she talked about exploitation at the hands of older men.
‘I discovered you can’t walk around with a plate of hot food and expect people not to eat it,’ she said in 2004. ‘Older men are worse. They know young women are impressed with power and wealth and they manipulate it.’
By her own account, she experienced this kind of manipulation – and abuse – at the age of 17, months after leaving the security of her £38,000-a-year boarding school in Wiltshire.
While working as a fledgling model in Paris in 1995, she says she was attacked and held against her will for two days by one of fashion’s most powerful men after he locked her in his apartment.
‘There were no door handles because the place was so modern that everything had electric keypads,’ she recounted in a 2004 interview. ‘Only he knew the codes. I couldn’t get out. He said to me, ‘I would really like you to stay.’
‘At the time I had all these thoughts in my head. I didn’t know this guy, what he was capable of doing. He said he would take me back after I’d had a drink with him. He continually demanded sex.’
As the situation escalated, she said the unnamed man chased her and ripped her dress. ‘He kept trying to pin me down and pull himself on top of me, then when I pushed him away he would go off and take drugs. When he came back I was terrified because he was manic.’
She said that when he finally agreed to let her go, she ran out and shouted to him that she was going to call the police. ‘He said: ‘Who do you think they will believe, some 17-year-old who’s a bit drunk?’ It sounds ridiculous now but at 17, when someone says that, you think they are right. So I didn’t do anything and I didn’t tell anyone about it.
‘It took me a long time to trust people afterwards and I still have flashbacks. He made me feel it was my fault and that I deserved it. And I don’t think I was the first. He had probably done this lots of times to other girls.’
She never named her attacker ‘because he is very well known in the modelling world and heavily into fashion’.
More recently, her life appears to have taken a happier turn. Five years ago she gave birth to a daughter, Aurelia, with her partner Ben Edwards, a musician who is also studying for a masters in clinical psychology, and she now lives in Los Angeles permanently
While Anouska threw herself into a modelling career in which she appeared on billboard posters for the French fashion brand Guy Laroche at 19 and become the face – and body – of the lingerie brand Pussy Glamore, she later painted a picture of the industry as an empty, soulless world. She described how she became anorexic in her efforts to remain thin and took drugs and drank too much thanks to ‘meaningless’ friendships.
‘You live in a world which is make-believe and damaging,’ she told The Mail on Sunday in 2004. ‘You are constantly rejected, which makes you feel inadequate.’
Despite moving to live in Los Angeles and being described as ‘fiercely ambitious’ by those who know her, success in Hollywood has proved elusive. Nor was she successful at reinventing herself as a singer 15 years ago after she worked with Robbie Williams’s voice coach and songwriter Nile Rodgers and launched her own album.
More recently, her life appears to have taken a happier turn. Five years ago she gave birth to a daughter, Aurelia, with her partner Ben Edwards, a musician who is also studying for a masters in clinical psychology, and she now lives in Los Angeles permanently.
But while she has made a life for herself in the City of Lights, the quest for fame and fortune in Hollywood has undoubtedly been a painful one for Anouska de Georgiou.
The few words she said in court this week were clearly just the beginning. For her story is a reminder of just how vulnerable young women can be when they set out in pursuit of fame and fortune, and the heavy price many of them have been forced to pay for their dreams.