Fans turn out for Gok Wan in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 15:00 15 October 2010
©Archant Photographic 2010
Hundreds of well turned-out fans queued around the block outside Jarrolds yesterday to catch a glimpse of fashion guru Gok Wan.
The flamboyant TV presenter had travelled to Norwich to sign copies of his new autobiography, Through Thick and Thin. It was the first day the tell-all work had been on sale.
The book details his early life as an overweight schoolboy in Leicester through to his dramatic and speedy journey to fame, as well as private revelations about his battle with an eating disorder.
When he arrived at the store just before 1pm, flanked by a personal assistant and a bodyguard, the crowds had already snaked through the book department, outside on to the pavement and halfway around the building.
“It’s the first signing and I always get a little bit nervous. You don’t know who’s going to turn up,” he said.
“It was a tricky childhood. Everyone has a story to tell and I had mine as well, but no more and no less than anyone else.
“I lived with the eating disorder for many years and I still have it. It wasn’t really until I’d written the book that I’d discussed it in any form. I’m still dealing with it.
“I’m just the little Chinese boy from Leicester and at the ago of 36 this happens.
“I’ve been given such a phenomenal opportunity to do the job I do. I love the fact that I can possibly make a little bit of difference to their lives.”
“When someone says to me ‘You know, Gok, I don’t like what I see in the mirror’, I get it,” he added.
After touring the book around the UK for the next few weeks he will begin filming for the fourth series of his popular Fashion Fix program which will air in the New Year.
Staff at Jarrolds estimated that as many as 350 people had queued outside to see the star, including Kat Jones, who had started queuing at 8.30, half an hour before the store opened.
The 21-year-old is reading history of art at the UEA and is also fashion editor of the university newspaper.
She said she was excited to get the chance to talk to one of her heroes. “I think it’s more of a woman’s thing. He just seems to have this confidence in finding beauty in everyone, whereas Trinny and Susannah pick fun at your bad points. He just seems to be so friendly in such a comfortable way,” she said.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll lose the ability to speak.”
Will Sinclair, 17, was one of a handful of men waiting to speak to Gok.
The student at Paston College had travelled from his home in Cromer for the opportunity.
“I love Gok, he’s one of my favourites. I think he’s really inspiring for lots of women and lots of gay men as well. I love all his shows,” he said.
“My favourite was a documentary he did on fat teenagers. I love it when he approaches other things than fashion, like body image.”
“I know how he used to be really overweight and how he’s turned his life around.
“I think it’s great how he lived in quite a rough area in Leicester and now he’s really famous, and all these people are queuing to see him.
“ I find that quite amazing because it all happened so quickly.”
After the signing the professional stylist attended a special event at Norwich City Football Ground where dozens of people paid up to £75 for a three-course meal and an exclusive book signing.
Have you met a celebrity in Norwich? Call reporter Matthew Sparkes on 01603 772439 or email firstname.lastname@example.org