Famous for his sensitivity and understanding with women, encouraging them and enabling them to accept themselves, and their bodies, as they are, Gok Wan’s autobiography sadly tells a very different story with regards to his own body acceptance. Having gained weight throughout his childhood, getting up to twenty one stone as a teenager, he loathed his body and ended up starving himself, becoming anorexic in a desperate effort to be thin and, therefore, successful. Perhaps this is where his empathy comes from? That when he stands a woman in front of a wall of mirrors in her underwear, he actually truly understands what it is to loathe your own body.
I didn’t realise that Gok’s original ambitions had been to act, and that it is only through a series of lucky incidents that he ended up first as a make-up artist, then stylist, before moving onto our TV screens. The book tells of his childhood, growing up in a mixed race family (his dad is Hong Kong Chinese, his mum is white), flunking out of school, going on to study drama and working a series of dead-end jobs before wheeling and dealing (well, basically lying) his way into the style business.
Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.