A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited down to London by Activia UK to meet the lovely Gok Wan! Here is Part 1 of my interview with him if you missed it. I’m going to jump right in where we left off…

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KHGS: I loved your Stripping for Summer live TV shows over the last few weeks, it must be very nerve wracking presenting a live TV show in front of millions of viewers! I sometimes struggle with feeling confident speaking in front of people and in videos. What are your tips for keeping cool in the spot light and do you get nervous?
 
Gok: Heck yes! Absolutely. I s**t myself… it’s a pretty scary thing…there’s a mirror on the other side of the doors so I can see myself before the doors open, then I know I have to carry a show for an hour in front of millions and a live audience. It’s the most awful thing you could ever do in your whole life!
 
Catherine: Does that change then once you are out there? Are you then ok?
 
Gok: Well that’s me with everything, I dread it beforehand then I love it. I’m just a natural worrier, I worry I’m going to get it wrong and I have self belief issues as well…you do it and the minute you say ‘Hello Manchester’ and then your in it…it’s cause you can’t walk away from it by then!
 
The conversation eventually turned on to blogging and why we blog, why we do it etc…we talk about how we like to help other people and so on…
 
Gok: I don’t think it’s unusual or unacceptable to look for validation by having a public job, I’m sure that Beyonce doesn’t only write songs for other people…it is about validation. A lot of my job is about validation, of course I feel good about myself, I’ve just been outside been told I’m loved for the past two hours its a lovely feeling. I think all of us have a bit of a show man about us, especially if you are a blogger…it’s that thing of having followers that sounds quite tribalisic really… 
 
Tamsin: I don’t like to call them followers, I prefer readers (cue agreement from the rest of us) if you say follower then it makes you sound like the important one…
 
Gok: Well you are really! They follow you for a reason…
 
Tamsin: Well I never thought that people would follow me! Whenever I get a comment I’m always really chuffed (more agreement from the rest of us!) that they’ve found something they like…
 
Gok: Well it is validation then…
 
Lot’s of laughter from us all!
 
Gok: What I’m saying is that it’s fine to feel that way. It’s like with make up, you don’t actually see your own make up once you’ve put it on!
 
KHGS: I feel good when I have some red lipstick on, but I think that’s more about what I’m projecting with that…
 
…conversation between us all about realising that feeling validated is part of blogging and wearing make up!…
 
Gok: The internet has given the whole world a voice and an instant audience – people used to have to stand on a box in Hyde Park, but the internet has given us a voice and we all seek validation through that. Bringing it back to feeling good from with within and Activia, just the physical action of holding up a board with what makes you feel good written on it, that’s validation. There’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever if it makes you feel good…what I do is tell people to wear heels and skirts and dresses and magic under ware and it’s all really about validation…
 
KHGS: I think I’ve had an ephifany about why I blog now!
 
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More general conversation… (Gok was getting his makeup taken off and removed this glasses)
 
KHGS: It’s strange to see you without your glasses!
 
Gok: I know, do like it as I feel like a reverse Clark Kent!
 
KHGS: I believe in eating healthy, but then having a bit of what you fancy, what are your favourite healthy foods and what are your favourite treat foods?
 
Gok: Favourite healthy foods…I love nuts…of all kinds…(laughter). I love quinoa and couscous, just naturally. I’m not the kind of person to reach for chocolate or crisps, I think because I had so many of them when I was younger. I do tend to crave meals, so I crave my Dad’s home cooking.
 
Dannii: What’s your favourite indulgence meal then?
 
Gok: My ultimate indulgence meal…well I don’t think I have one, because do genuinely eat healthy food all the time.
 
KHGS: I think that’s the golden ticket when it comes to weight maintenance, just really loving healthy food.
 
Gok: Although the meals I… not guilt, but really have to be really aware of what I’m eating, is either pizza and 6 pints of lager or fish and chips and 6 pints of lager.
 
KHGS: I never put you down for a lager drinker!
 
Gok: I love lager, love it. love it, love it! I’ve had to train myself not to have it but sometimes I just go to the pub and well, f**k it! At least with fish and chips there’s protein etc, but with lager there’s just no nutrition.
 
Dannii: It’s not the alcohol that is the problem it’s my lack of inhibitions once I’ve drank it…
 
Gok: That will go away…I lost the weight 19 years ago now…and that does go away, you stop thinking about it and you don’t have those protocols in place. It’s all about losing control isn’t it. When you first lose weight you have all those rules and are a control freak, everything got’s to have it’s place and you can’t do anything to slip off the slope, but then it’s realising that it’s no longer a slope it’s a flat piece of ground and it’s up to you whether that goes up or down…
 
Dannii: What would be your main tip to someone looking to get healthier or lose weight if that was what they wanted?
 
Gok: Well, I would never tell someone how to lose weight…
 
Dannii: But what would you say was the one thing that really helped you though?
 
Gok: Mine was education about food…it wasn’t until later on I started to educate myself about what was in food and what it does to your body…but where does that education come from? Should we be taught it earlier or would that scare them and take their childhood away…or do we give them some kind of prevention…it’s a difficult argument really…
 
KHGS: I know what you mean, I’m a youth worker as well and one of the things I’m doing at the moment back up in the North East is doing some work with young people around healthy eating, but you’re absolutely right you don’t want young people to feel horrible about just enjoying themselves.
 
Gok: It’s about making it not such as issue. For us who have been massively overweight, food and dinner time is a discussion, an issue, an event. You’re constantly thinking about what you are going to consume. It’s about taking that away from the kids I think. 
 
Catherine: Do you think this has changed for young people in the last few years? That they’re more aware now?
 
Gok: Yeah, kids go for high tea and go for coffee! They never did that when I was a kid, it was a bottle of White Lightening behind the sheds, not anymore!
 
KHGS: I think it is still like that in some parts of the North East to be honest!
 
Gok:…kids are getting mixed messages, it’s either bright lights and fast food or the Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey style cooking stuff.
 
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Then the conversation moves on to fashion and blogging again…
 
Tamsin: Is there a trend at the moment that you think is great?
 
Gok: My philosophy is that all trends don’t suit everyone. If it doesn’t suit your body shape, then just don’t do it, find something else! The sexiest era for me…for feminine shapes and cuts was the 1940’s…especially for British women and British shapes…but not for everyone of course!
 
Tamsin: Do you read any online blogs?
 
Gok: I don’t and I’ll tell you why…I have to have my own opinion…I don’t read magazines, I look at them but I don’t read them. It’s like if I was an actor and you were given a role to create, I’m not the kind of person who would go and watch other actors versions of that role, I’d want to make it my own. Because a lot of my job is about being an authority on fashion, style or self confidence and people listen to what I say, if I’ve got lots of different opinions inside my head, I’d find it hard to work out what was my opinion. I’m not sure if that is to my detriment, but it seems to have worked out ok so far.
 
Dannii: I develop my own recipes and I try not to read recipe books because it’s day to get influenced, so that I’m not inadvertently ripping someone else off!
 
Gok: It’s really easy to do that, copying is part of human nature…
 
Dannii: We were saying earlier (Me and Dannii) that nothing is original anymore, a lot of people have already had the opinion you have, it’s about making it your own.
 
KHGS: I think it comes back to what we were saying earlier about staying true to yourself.
 
Gok: Yeah, absolutely!
 
That was one long interview and I think we covered so many different topics – this is just the highlights!
 
I did find the conversation about validation and blogging interesting, as well as the talk about not reading or exposing yourself to certain sources of information, whether that be other blogs, magazines or books, so that you are more confident in your originality. I’m not sure how I feel on that one, on one hand I feel that it’s part of the world we are in. Ideas are passed between us and re imagined with a more individual spin or built upon into something better. I think it’s about authenticity rather than originality. Obviously when it’s ripping someone off, or not at least acknowledging the source of inspiration, it becomes an issue. I have found that I’ve started to limit how much I read certain blogs, magazines etc so that I feel more confident that what I’m putting out there is me, and not something else I have seen or read. What are your views on this? 
 
On a lighter note, I loved what Gok said about the 1940’s style, I completely agree! What is your favourite fashion trend or era?
 
 

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