Last week Gok Wan came to Harrogate to film the new series of his fashion roadshow and thanks to a bit of word of mouth via local networking group BlaH (Business Ladies Around Harrogate), I managed to wangle an invite. No sooner did I get the nod from production company Endemol, I was very excited about being in the presence of Gok – who doesn’t love this man!?
Along with my fellow Gokettes Katie and Lisa, I was taking part in the Bodyshape Boutique, the part of the programme where Gok dispenses invaluable advice on how to dress to make the most of your body shape, followed by a rather frenetic clothes swap.
Prior to this, we had duly hung up our five items of unwanted clothing on rails dotted about the room in eager anticipation of the swap. At one point Gok did a brief survey of the rails looking for interesting pieces to use in his forthcoming makeover section. I saw him pick up a cute checked vintage-style shirt and no sooner had I muttered to my friends, “ooh I like that” he twirled around to size up the garment against me.
True to form, Gok is every bit as warm and funny as he appears on screen, with his trademark combination of sarky wit and almost maternal fondness for women of all shapes and sizes.
“Welcome to telly-land,” said Gok as we groaned slightly at the prospect of having to film yet again a sequence of us all filing into the Royal Hall auditorium, but once things got underway the Harrogate ladies conquered their stage-fright and stepped up with their fashion dilemmas: “I can’t wear dresses”, “I always wear black” and “How can I be a glamorous grandmother?”.
After a little bit more standing around (you do a lot of that by the way, but lovely Gok keeps you entertained with his flagrant language and ruthless mickey-taking of the director), the bodyshape surgery is over and several runners start hunting around the room, seeking out the brave women who put up their hands to ask a question, in order to be whisked back stage to be re-styled according to the fairy Gokmother.
And then it happens. Gok is holding the aforementioned checked shirt and pointing to me. A runner smiles and escorts me backstage with the others, where rows of flesh coloured underwear and a myriad of fashion accessories are waiting to transform us. It’s all slightly surreal as Gok joins us and we start changing into items he’s picked out for us. “You don’t mind if I do this do you?” he asks as he rearranges someone’s decolletage, “you know I’m very gay.”
The lovely fashion girls run around at Gok’s instructions: “Can we have some navy blue tights please”, “I think this needs a belt and size 6 shoes while you’re at it.” Meanwhile Andy the seamstress pops in to see if any quick pinning and tailoring is required to complete the look.
Then it’s back out in front of the cameras to film ‘before and after’ sequences as Gok works his magic on each of us and a seriously impressed audience.
Was I slightly unnerved to be stood on a box next to Gok with a camera crew in my face? Just a bit. Did I love being made over by the master? Yes! Was it a fantastic, once in a lifetime opportunity? Most definitely.
|Katie and Lisa registering|
|Katie and I with our bags of second-hand booty|
|What shall now be known as my Gok shirt|
|The lovely Gok!|
The new series of Gok’s show will be aired in January!