Friday, January 15, 2010

Gok Wan:
Every woman deserves to feel gorgeous

Exclusive by Claire O'Boyle
Daily Mirror

As style guru Gok Wan sets out to make disabled women feel fantastic in the new series of How To Look Good Naked, these two women talk about how he’s changed their lives

Gok Wan has transformed the lives, and wardrobes, of hundreds of women over the years.

The new series of his hit show How To Look Good Naked hits the screens next week, Tuesday at 8pm Channel 4,
but this time “with a difference” as he calls it.
Now the show will see him focusing on women with disabilities for the first time.
(Produced and Directed by Ann Wilson)

“Doing the show is always amazing and every woman always has different concerns about their figure,” says Gok.

“But with these ladies it was even more moving for me because all their worries linked back to their disabilities.”

Gok says that the basis of making a woman feel good about herself is finding out which bits of herself she likes and making the most of them. “Then you find out what she doesn’t like and teach her how to disguise it.

“It’s been the same with these women but because of all the other issues around their disabilities, it’s been really special.”

And Gok adds: “Every woman deserves to feel gorgeous in her own body.”

I want people to look and not see my disability

Di Cram, 54, lost her sight aged 28. The mum-of-three, from Exeter, also lost confidence and was forced to rely on other people to choose her clothes.

“I had a motorbike accident when I was 17 and was treated with penicillin but I had a very rare allergic reaction. Over the next 10 years or so, after surgery, I lost my sight completely.

At 28 I moved more than 100 miles from my friends and family and with little ones to worry about it was hard to take care of my appearance.

Over the years I’ve relied on other people to help me choose clothes. But everyone just picked easy, safe things. Gok says a lot of the things my friends said were too young for me, like short dresses, actually suit me — apparently I’ve got nice legs!

A problem I had before was guilt about dragging someone shopping. They’d get bored and I’d pick something just so we could get out of there. Now I go with friends who won’t get bored! I’ve also started using concealer, blusher and even eye make-up. I’ve realised that there are products I can use once in a while and they make me feel great.

I feel as attractive now as I did before I lost my sight. It’s lovely to walk into a room and for everyone to tell you you look glamorous. I want other women with disabilities to feel like this, and for everyone to look at us and not just see our disabilities.”

Gok says:

“I created a personal style guide for Di to teach her about textures and colours. Her taste is really good and women need to be able to make their own decisions about fashion — Di’s wardrobe was stuffed with different people’s tastes. I taught her about trends, what colours suited her and what she should avoid.

It’s been hard for her but because she has known how it feels to be a gorgeous young thing it made it easier to get her confidence up. Some women will never feel like that.”

My son said ‘you’re even more beautiful now’

Mum-of-one Tracy Warren, 40, was left in a wheelchair in 2007 after developing a tumour on her spine.

“I had a terrible limp as a child and when I was 16 doctors found a tumour on my spine. The operation to remove it left me with very bad nerve damage.

In 2003 a tumour was found inside my spinal cord and by 2007 it had grown to the size of a golf ball. It’s in such a dangerous position I’m now restricted to my chair all the time.

I’ve been self-conscious ever since I was a teenager. I would never dream of wearing dresses or showing my legs. I couldn’t bear to look at them, so why should anyone else?

And going from being on crutches to sitting in the chair all the time was hard. Constantly sitting down I get really bloated. I’m slim but always felt fat and unattractive.

Before I felt it didn’t matter what I wore. I’d spend all my time in ugly trousers, a baggy T-shirt and no make-up. But now I’ve gone out and bought loads of skinny jeans and leggings and I’ve found a lovely short skirt. I curl my hair and even make an effort with make-up.

My little boy Joseph, who’s eight, was really emotional after the show and said ‘Mummy, you’re even more beautiful now’. It has taken all my life to get to this stage and it’s the happiest I’ve ever felt.”