How to Look Good Naked… With a Difference

Gok Wan How to Look Good Naked With a Difference - image -
Gok Wan How to Look Good Naked With a Difference - image -

OK, I’m going to admit it, I love Gok Wan! But then who doesn’t? He’d be your best friend, a fabulous shopping buddy, and greatest of all, your own personal confidence builder.

But my love for this fashion guru has grown ten-fold since his recent show How to Look Good Naked… With a Difference. Finally putting people with disabilities into the public eye, Gok’s out to “celebrate uniqueness” and prove that “we shouldn’t hide our differences any longer.”

If you missed the show, then here’s a recap…

EPISODE 1: 40-year-old Tracy Warren, a single mum and wheelchair user, lives an active and sociable life. But she finally admitted to ‘aunty Gok’ that she’s been putting on a brave face for years believing that her disability has made her invisible.

How to Look Good Naked With a Difference - image -

76% of people with a disability feel it has affected their confidence. A shroud of black and boring clothes were the true culprit in making Tracy invisible, but no more as Tracy realised that it’s not her disability holding her back, but her mindset.

INSPIRING APPEARANCE: Wheelchair user Kelly-Marie Stewart, who plays Hayley Ramsey in Hollyoaks, demonstrates how she never shys away from the limelight, embodying glamour and feminine charm – with the help of six-inch heels!

How to Look Good Naked With a Difference - image -

CONTINUING STORY: This episode saw the start of disability campaigners Natasha Wood and Nikki Fox’s journey to get disability onto the high street; “it’s all about getting used to seeing difference. The more you see it, the more it’s normality” (Nikki).

TOP TIP: A dirndl or A-line skirt is perfect for wheelchair users as its gathered appearance means there is enough fabric for it to sit nicely on the lap and not ride up.

EPISODE 2: 44-year old mother-of-three Clare Smith has been an amputee for 7 years. Although she has accepted her disability physically, she is still struggling with it emotionally.

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1 of 102,000 amputees in Britain, Clare didn’t feel sexy or feminine believing she was half a woman. She saw her amputated leg not as something missing, but instead a ‘thing’ that had been stuck on. But after being fitted for a prosthetic leg to give Clare freedom and choice, and with some bespoke tailored trousers,  Clare began to see how the missing leg didn’t equal missing beauty.

INSPIRING APPEARANCE: 29-year-old John McFall, also an amputee, won bronze medal in the 100m sprint at the Beijing Paralympics- and that is just one of his many sporting accolades. He regards his prosthetic leg and ‘stump’ as parts of him and wouldn’t trade them for the world.

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CONTINUING STORY: Gok isn’t impressed with Natasha and Nikki’s campaign so far, believing the image they have chosen, a woman held by burly men with the wheelchair in the background, gives the message that the person with disabilities has to reply on others. Will they turn this around…?

OTHER GEMS: Gok gets a group of 12 people with varying disabilities to pose for a naked photo shoot. He says “isn’t it about time that people with different shaped bodies, whether that is disabilities, whether that is to do with ethnicity, or to do with weight, shouldn’t we be seeing a completely different collection of bodies in the press, just to make sure that all those prejudices, all those stereotypes, are then taken away because we are exposed to it.”  The aim is to show people that “if I can do it, you can do it, we should be proud to live in our skins” – I LOVE IT!

TOP TIP: If you’re an amputee, invest in trousers that are tailored specially for you, i.e. where the bottom half of the leg can be removed when you’re not wearing your prosthetic.

EPISODE 3: Mother and magistrate Di Cram aged 54 has been blind for 37 years. With her last memories of sight being her as a swinging 70s chick, Di had concluded that she must now be a frumpy old lady.

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Over 2.8 million people in the UK are visually impaired. Gok’s challenge was to create Di’s own version of sight, fashioning a clear image of what Di really looks like, which included her fondling a life-size model of her figure, and equipping her with the knowledge of what does and doesn’t suit her body type. And by gosh he did it, with Di enthusing “in spite of being blind, which is part of what and who I am, I can still look gorgeous!”

INSPIRING APPEARANCE: Denise Leigh is a professional opera singer who is visually impaired. She believes that although it is good to have guidance from loved ones, knowing your own mind is vital. Her best advice is go to a professional to have you colours done, where they determine what goes best with your skin tone, so that you have a base to work from.

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CONTINUTING STORY: Nikki and Natasha finally nail a campaign image that Gok loves. Photographing wheelchair user Shannon Murray, they produce two provocative images, one outdoors in the wheelchair, and an underwear shot. Since the show the girls have succeeded in getting a model with disabilities onto the high street as Debenhams have taken on the campaign.

TOP TIP: Get loved ones to help you build up an audio or textured style bible, as Gok did for Di, which gives you all the rules and tips on how to dress your shape.

MY BEST BIT: When in episode 3 Gok tests Di’s colour clarifying machine on his face he is genuinely mortified at its reply of dark orange! Bless him!

Ok that wasn’t the only best bit for me! With 87% of people with disabilities admitting to covering up, this show is a long overdue boost in confidence for everyone out there, no matter what your body shape or disability. Blown away in particular by the group naked shoot and the participants belief in themselves, I hope everyone takes from the show the idea that it’s not about hiding your disability, but accepting it as part of you and being proud of it.

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March 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Entertainment.

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