Published: 00:02, 12 November 2017
| Updated: 07:42, 12 November 2017
After first appearing on our TV screens in 2006, fashion guru and presenter Gok Wan’s TV career has included regular slots on ITV’s This Morning as well as a documentary on child obesity Too Fat Too Young exploring the modern-day issues teenagers face including sexuality, online bullying and eating disorders in the series Gok’s Teens: The Naked Truth.
When Gok Wan tells people to strip, they do. The man can make almost anyone look good naked.
His passion for beautiful bodies follows on from his own well-documented weight battle in his teens caused by low self esteem and bullying.
The TV presenter worked through all those feelings in his autobiography, Through Thick and Thin, but his new stage show is much more than that – he calls it the After Gok. “I had put it away and never read it back to myself,” he says of the book. “But years later I decided I would read it. And I was ashamed. I suddenly realised I had so much more to say and the stage show is an extension of that.
“I am 43 now and I have never felt more confident. Although I think it is impossible for all of us to feel 100% confident.”
Gok is a force of nature, always busy and thinking up new projects. His successful TV show, How to Look Good Naked, was never cancelled – he just walked away from it at the height of its popularity.
He says: “We made 74 episodes, which is a hell of a lot if you think about it, but the show needed a break. I think it worked partly because there was no social media around really then.”
What the show also did for him was make him famous, but he says, that wasn’t something he ever wanted. “TV is ridiculous really – it is completely odd when you think of it. Celebrity is a state of mind. It is man made. I have never really wanted that kind of lifestyle, although I love my job. When people meet me they say ‘you’re just so normal’. But everyone is normal really.”
Although he now has many famous friends, Gok says he hates dressing celebrities. He would, however make one exception to that, he says – for Michael Fassbender.
“I really enjoy makeovers. They are the things that I get a lot of buzz out of, dressing real people with real bodies and real self-confidence issues.
“For me it’s far more empowering than dressing a celebrity as they can afford any of the clothes they want, they have a body a trainer has given them and they eat nothing but dust for months on end.”
Heading out onto stage is a new challenge for him and he is excited about it.
“I am just open to whatever happens that night,” says Gok, who grew up in Leicester.
“I think we live in a world where we are judged on what we look like and the clothes that we are wearing. I am totally committed to the show.
“It is absolutely rammed full of ridiculous wild and funny stories that have happened in my life. It isn’t sad and it isn’t depressing. It should be lots of laughs. Lots of gossip and lots of secrets but you’ll have to come along to find out! And no, I won’t be getting naked in the show! Nobody needs to see that.”
A man who can never sit still, Gok has also taken up magic this year. “Every year I try and learn something new,” he says. “I wanted to learn card tricks originally and be my very own Dumbledore. But I don’t think I’ll turn it into a job. It’s quite nice to do though, I’ve some great party tricks.”
So could taking up dancing be one of the things he could do next year, say, in Strictly?
“I would do it but I am fiercely competitive; pretty much the most competitive person in the world,” he says. “But I am really terrible with criticism. I just couldn’t take it. Craig (Revel Horwood) is a friend of mine, but I couldn’t even take it from him.”
This Christmas, however, after he hangs up his Naked hat at the end of this tour, he is already booked for something other than Strictly – panto. “Panto is incredible. It is so British and it hasn’t worked anywhere else in the world. But the kids are the most difficult audience. They want to be entertained!”
Gok Wan Naked and Baring All comes to the Orchard Theatre, Dartford on Tuesday, November 14, at 7.30pm. To book tickets at £29, call 01322 220000 or visit orchardtheatre.co.uk
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