Gok Wan born 9 September 1974
Gok Wan (born Ko-Hen Wan, meaning 'Noisy Big City' in Cantonese, is a British fashion consultant, author and television presenter of British Chinese heritage.
Gok Wan was born in Leicester, England, to a Chinese father, who was born in Hong Kong, and an English mother. He grew up on one of the city's council estates and his parents ran a local restaurant there. Wan stood out from his peers from a young age and the fact that he was mixed-race, tall, overweight and gay led to bullying from other children. He was 21 stone (133 kg) in his teenage years and later confessed, 'I was really fat'. He was drawn to performing arts and began attending a course at the Charles Keene College of Further Education. After receiving a diploma from the college, Wan enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama and continued to study performing arts. However, the other students had backgrounds very different to his and he felt that his weight was beginning to dictate his life.He felt restricted and unhappy and eventually dropped out of the course, returning to live with his family.
Wan set about losing weight and at the age of 20 he began a crash diet, losing nearly half his weight in several months. Despite the sudden change, he had no problem with having been overweight, later reflecting: 'I don't regret having been fat at all. I know how to throw jokes at myself and I use humour before anything else, and those skills allow me to do the chatshows. So I'm thankful for that." He even lamented that, after losing weight, he had to try harder to attract attention, saying that his weight had, to an extent, defined him.
Fuelled by his personality and charm, he moved in to the world of fashion. Over the next 10 years, Wan worked with many celebrities including Bryan Ferry, All Saints, Damien Lewis, Erasure, Vanessa Mae, Wade Robson, Lauren Laverne, Wet Wet Wet, and Johnny Vaughan. He also offered his opinions to magazines, becoming a fashion consultant, and his work has been published internationally in several magazines, which include Tatler, Glamour, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and The Face. He has also worked with photographers such as Rankin, Mike Owen and Jason Joyce.
Wan has also worked as an 'on-screen' fashion consultant on many television shows including: MTV Shakedown (MTV Europe), GMTV (ITV), LK Today (ITV), Big Brother's Little Brother (Channel 4), Battle of the Sexes (BBC1), The Wright Stuff (Five), Make Me a Grown Up (Channel 4/T4), The Xtra Factor (ITV2) and T4 (Channel 4).
In 2006, Wan was approached by Channel 4 and asked to present his own fashion show, How to Look Good Naked. In addition, he wrote a book to accompany the series, entitled How to Look Good Naked: Shop for Your Shape and Look Amazing!, that was published in April 2007. A second series was commissioned and was broadcast on Channel 4 in mid-2007. Along with the second series, he appeared on The New Paul O'Grady Show, in which he persuaded Paul O'Grady to strip 'naked'. A third series was shown in early 2008. His new series, entitled Gok's Fashion Fix was broadcast on Channel 4 in mid-2008.
Gok presented a documentary which was first broadcast in January 2009, entitled Too Fat Too Young, examining overweight kids in the UK. He reflected on his experience of being obese to help these teenagers.
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