‘I still don’t feel safe as a gay man in Britain
Gok Wan bares his soul on coming out, public life and why the UK still isn’t an equal place if you are gay…
Fashion stylist Gok Wan burst onto our TV screens more than a decade ago, helping women to love themselves, lumps and all. Forget Trinny and Susannah, he was the original makeover king who could make any woman – no matter her fears – feel good about her bare body.
Now 43, Gok has done it all – apart from reveal who he really is when the cameras aren’t rolling.
The jovial man, who renamed boobs as ‘bangers’ in How To Look Good Naked, is still there. But when we meet at his beautiful London townhouse, it’s apparent there’s a deeper and more serious side to the presenter.
He’s set to embark on a UK stage tour to bare his soul, warts and all, to audiences around the country, but first he gives Now a glimpse…
You’re about to go on a one-man tour, which is a total change in direction from your TV shows… The likes of Sarah Millican and Alan Carr are complete professionals at it and the way they harness their script and take you on a journey is completely different to what I’m doing, which is telling very funny stories.
How did your new show come about? I’ve had so many experiences in life I just thought, ‘You know what? F**k it, let’s give it a go’. I’m 43 this year and I’ve got to do something new. I feel like I’ve lived enough and seen enough to put together a 90-minute show and, actually,
I had enough for a sevenand-a-half hour show! Do you get naked on stage? No. But this is far more exposing than going on stage and getting your kit off. This is going on stage and revealing what is in my heart and soul.
Who inspires you, comedywise? Dawn French. She’s actually a good friend and I really respect her. I only saw her show once, loved it and afterwards we had dinner together and I asked what was it like and she said she loved it. I told her I’m thinking about doing [a show] and she was very supportive. What are your rider demands? I am known in the business to be the lowest maintenance person, to the point where I’ve had clients call my agent and ask, ‘Are you sure that’s all he wants?’ It’s because when I was a stylist for female singers, I’d look at their riders and think, ‘Are you actually kidding me? This is ridiculous!’ I can’t say who, but some were so bizarre. Go on Gok, tell us what was on the rider? I can’t say what it was – it will give it away who it was – but it was so ridiculous and no-one else in the world would have that on their rider. [If I told you more] they would know I had discussed it and that is massively unprofessional. I have a packet of Haribo on my rider and that’s it – sweets! When was the last time you laughed out loud? First thing in the morning, I do a little laugh when I wake up – it starts my day with a smile and sets you up. Try it!
How do you like to unwind? That involves alcohol of some description – probably gin! You DJ’D at Pride this year – do you think the country has turned a corner in terms of accepting people as gay? No, I think we have a long way to go. I think living in London, it’s a cosmopolitan place with
‘People will always need makeovers’