Gok Wan Interview

 A feature from the September 2017 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
Suffolk Norfolk Life September 2017Click to view this issue »
Stephanie Mackentyre meets multi-talented fashion guru, TV Presenter and Author Gok Wan.

The man who encouraged women (and a man) to ‘get naked’ in his Channel 4 series How To Look Good Naked is planning to ‘get naked’ himself in his brand new stage show coming to Norfolk and Suffolk. With 18 theatre dates around the UK, starting at the end of October in Norwich (30/31), before moving to Bury St Edmunds (19 November) Gok Wan Naked & Baring All marks the first time he has taken to the stage to ‘bare all’ about his own previously ‘private’ life. From his humble beginnings on a Leicester council estate to becoming a household name, Gok plans to candidly unravel his life in front of a live audience, revealing everything about his life thus far.

The trade-mark thick-rimmed glasses and shrieking laughter synonymous with this larger-than-life, yet loveable character will be on full show for the first of these special shows which come to East Anglia from next month. At just 42, he’s already been responsible for countless TV appearances, created thought-provoking documentaries Gok’s Teens: The Naked Truth and written about his life as well as presenting three highly successful series of How to Look Good Naked for Channel 4.

However, all of this sprang from dark beginnings as Gok explained when we spoke. “I was very overweight as a teenager. Lots of things contributed to me wanting to lose weight, in those early years. I found I was losing weight to keep people happy. When you are told you are fat and ugly, you start to believe it. Saying that, I didn’t really care. I also loved food and it made me very happy, the more I ate the more it made me happy.” He attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London famous for turning out the likes of Lynda Bellingham, Hugh Bonneville, Dame Judi Dench and Dawn French. “At drama school I was failing very quickly and quite publicly on the performance side. Very quickly, I realised I didn’t have the right training before I got there. In my brain a widget inside said, ‘if you start to look like all of these brilliant people around you, you’ll do so much better.’ I wanted to prove to those around me that I could do something and be successful. I found by radically changing the way I looked [he weighed in at 21 stone] I could do it. I was on a very deep, dangerous journey downwards into anorexia.”

Read the full interview in the September 2017 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life Magazine
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