At just 25 Tania Ellwood had become a fashion and beauty editor for the Herald on Sunday.
She had already made a name for herself as a stylist, fashion writer and budding poet who had been published in Remix, Rip It Up and NZ Musician magazines.
Her underground fashion label, "Ellwood", was "designed for women who are aware of themselves".
Herald on Sunday gossip writer Rachel Glucina marvelled that Ellwood had already "forged a strong path in the fashion world for someone so young" after an interview with the young editor in 2006.
"At first glance Ellwood looks like a young Debbie Harry: killer cheekbones, blonde bangs, bold, feline eyes, and rock-chick attitude," Glucina wrote.
"She even sang in a band as the female lead, but that was before she made a decision to focus on fashion."
Ellwood was quick to tell Glucina her fashion idol was Vivienne Westwood.
Her love of fashion included other big names such Nicolas Ghesquiere (for Balenciaga), Karen Walker and Mala Brajkovic, but she also found looks to treasure from Trade Me and adapted vintage fashion.
Ellwood shared her love in fashion as fashion and beauty editor of View magazine for the Herald on Sunday.
They included odes to the most iconic moments in fashion - her "favourite halter dress" was none other than the white number worn by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.
Ellwood said the immortalised look embodied the appeal of halter dress - "they're sexy".
In fashion articles she penned, Ellwood also commented on the most glamorous Oscar moments and how an understated bow could transform a look.
She called the Christian Dior black dress Charlize Theron wore to the Oscars in 2006 unforgettable but "without the bow it would've been just another black dress".
Her fashion advice for readers was often practical - how to dress children well without spending a fortune and how to dress for seasonal events.
"Fashion has few truly effortless pleasures but a great T-shirt is just such a rare treat," she wrote in View.
"Simply throw it on with a pair of jeans and head out the door.
"But what has really made the T-shirt a fashion icon is that it's such a simple (and usually affordable) means of self-expression.
"Really the only way to get it wrong, in my opinion, is with those generic slogan options – the only statement they convey is boring."
Other tips showed a fiercer commitment to glamour.
"Some girls tell me they can't wear high heels.
"I say they just haven't met the right pair."
In the same year Ellwood became a fashion and beauty editor she landed a spot on Shortland Street playing a minor character called Mandy Timmins.
However, South Pacific Pictures producers confirmed she did not appear for the episode and the role had to be recast.
Tributes for the young fashionista are being made online after her body and that of Timothy Kerr Hamilton, 36, were found in a Grey Lynn boarding house on Tuesday.
Katrina Ellwood paid tribute to her 39-year-old sister in a Facebook post late last night.
"RIP my beautiful sis," she wrote, adding a photo with Ellwood.
"I love you with all my heart and I'm going to miss you every single day.
"I pray you are at peace."
Auckland woman Sarah Tahere told the Herald she fondly remembered Ellwood from her school days at Epsom Girls Grammar School.
"Tania was very mature for her age, she was creative and extremely intelligent," Tahere said.
"Tania wasn't interested in popularity. She was genuinely herself, always, which was so refreshing in a school of 1500 girls."
Tahere, who went by the last name Kirkpatrick during her school years, said Ellwood was a good friend to her throughout the years she knew her.
"She will be sadly missed by her family and all those who were privileged to have known her."
A police spokesperson said they were not able to comment on what happened to Ellwood and Hamilton until the end of the investigation.
The matter would be referred to the coroner at the end of the investigation.