Stripped down to the barest emotions
How to Look Good Naked 8pm, Ten
MEET Diana. She has big breasts, nice teeth, a shapely butt and a great big bundle of self- confidence issues. The 27- year- old has spent most of her life in body- image hell because she feels her breasts are far too big and that they’re the first thing people notice about her. But by the end of tonight’s show you can see her naked on a 30m- high billboard.
Popping up on an LA billboard comes as a shock to Diana, which in turn comes as a surprise to us at home because ( a) she has just posed naked for a photographer, ( b) she is appearing in a show with the word naked in the title and ( c) the nude finale happens every week.
Enter Carson Kressley. You’ll remember him from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the overnight success of 2003 that barely lasted until lunchtime the next day ( count two or three seasons). Master of the double entendre and industrialstrength flamboyance, he was the stand- out performer of the show, which claimed to make- over sloppy straight dudes into stylish straight dudes, but sometimes turned them into sexless fops with silly haircuts.
The 38- year- old has subsequently gone on to a second career writing books, doing cameos in films and launching his own snazzy menswear line. When Kressley was asked to host a US version of How to Look Good Naked , based on the British series, which shows how women can bolster their best assets and self- esteem, he apparently blurted to his agent: ‘‘ I can’t do that. I don’t look good naked. How am I going to tell other people?’’
While Kressley is not a bloke you’d usually expect to be wooing women out of their clothes, as a gay man he has one almighty advantage over straight Y- chromosomers: he doesn’t present a sexual threat or challenge.
‘‘ When we started doing it ( the series), I realised how women have these amazingly deep body issues,’’ he told a reporter recently.
Amazingly deep isn’t a phrase that springs to mind when you watch this show, but you have to hand it to Kressley: he knows what ( some) women want, witnessed by the feedback to Naked ’ s popular website: ‘‘ I wish I had Carson with me to make me feel brave and love my body.’’
‘‘ I’m sitting here in a pool of tears! I wish that was me on TV with Carson.’’
Enough already. Well, at least this show isn’t about women resorting to plastic surgery or extreme makeovers to become what they see as sexy. At its best, it’s about encouraging them — no matter what their size or shape — to enjoy their bodies. And that can’t be a bad thing.
Stark drama: Carson Kressley in the US version of How to Look Good Naked