In My Own Words with… Gok Wan: 'I never, ever thought that I could be successful’ - Exclusive

Ahead of the launch of Say Yes To The Dress Lancashire on TLC, Gok Wan speaks exclusively to BT TV about his proudest career moment, his perfect Sunday, who inspires him, and more.

He’s a household name up and down the country, but who is the real Gok Wan?

The Leicester-born fashion consultant, TV host, author and chef is stepping into a new role as fairy godmother on Say Yes To The Dress Lancashire, a regional spin-off of the successful TV show where brides-to-be go on the hunt for their dream wedding gown.

When he’s not working, 44-year-old Gok lives in London’s Bloomsbury with his beloved bulldog, Dolly.

So to celebrate the launch of the show on TLC UK, we asked Gok a number of deep and meaningful questions to try and get to know him a little bit better.

From his proudest career moment and the person he admires most, to his perfect Sunday and the inspirational women in his life, Gok Wan opens up exclusively to BT TV.

TLC is one of the extra entertainment channels available for BT TV customers, part of the BT Entertainment Starter Pack. You can watch TLC on BT channel number 323/377 HD.

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Gok Wan: In My Own Words

My motivation for getting up and out of bed each morning is… My job. I work every day, and I love going to work and doing what I do, so that alone gets me out of bed.

The person who inspires me most in my life is… My sister Oilen (below), my mum Myra, in fact all my family inspire me!

I’ve got some odd ones, or ones that you probably wouldn’t think of, but [the actress] Zoë Wanamaker, she really inspires me. I met her for dinner once through a friend, we were at the same table, and she absolutely fascinates me. Dawn French is also a good friend of mine, and a massive motivation, I think in the back of my head, “What would Dawn do in this situation?”

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is… From Dawn French actually. She said “Your biggest strength and power is saying no”, which since then I’ve done many times. Up until then, hardly ever.

If I were to quit my job today, the thing I’d miss the most is… The creativity, depending on what I went on to do.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be… A farmer, until I was about seven, then I realised how much hard work it was. Then after that I only had one dream, which was to be an actor, but that left me probably around the age of 21, and then I fell into fashion, and it was a fond farewell [to acting].

The biggest misconception about fame is… That it’s easy… cryptic.

If money was no object, I’d want to spend my life… Probably doing the same as I’m doing now, but I wouldn’t do as much of it *laughs*. I’d probably make some changes, but I don’t know what they’d be yet. Ask me in a few years when I’ve earnt a bit more!

If I were Prime Minister, the law I would change or make is… You have not got a meeting big enough for that! I couldn’t choose one over the other. I think there’s so many changes I’d make, I’d have to not answer that one. Don’t get me on the political bandwagon right now because I will go to town.

If I could fly anywhere now, I’d fly to… Bergamo in Italy with my sister. We went a couple of years ago and I’d like to go back with her. It’s in northern Italy, near Lake Camo. It’s quite a small little town but it’s really beautiful, and we had a great time.


#italy #bergamo

A post shared by James Robinson (@robinson1642) on

If I could go back in time, the one piece of advice I’d give to my younger self is… “You need to stop worrying about everything because actually, it’s all gonna be alright.”

My proudest career moment to date is… Oh my God this is so tough! I don’t know, I’ve had so many, and I feel guilty choosing one over the other. How To Look Good Naked, I was so proud of that, it was such a task to do, and there are many moments there.

I don’t want to feel bad to people that I worked with, I feel like I’m favoritising, I feel really awful. Do you know what? I’m proud of all of it, because I never, ever thought that I could be successful, and so the idea that I could wake up and I’ve got a job to go to, I’m very proud of that.

My daily mantra, or thing I try to do daily, is… That I smile for 30 seconds to a minute when I wake up because it puts me in a good mood for the day. I lay in bed and I literally just put a massive smile on my face, and it completely reconfigures what’s going on in my brain probably, and it works a lot. It sends all the right signals to all the right chemicals.


Best valentines present is a lie in! 💖

A post shared by Gok Wan (@therealgokwan) on

From a career point of view, I still want to achieve… A DJ set at Tomorrowland festival. I would like to open a restaurant, I would like to do a degree in Law, I would like to consider doing a chat show and I would also like to bring How To Look Good Naked back.

Social media - a blessing or a curse? It’s both. Social media is definitely a blessing and a curse!

If I could go back to school or college now, I would like to study… Law. I think at some point I’ll go and do a degree in Law I think, and probably Human Rights.

The celebrity I’d love to have met is… Elvis. I’m slightly fascinated by him, and just thought he was incredible, and very, very interesting.

My dream dinner party guests are… Tracy Chapman, Alan Carr, because he always keeps the party going, Dawn [French] because she makes me laugh a huge amount, Ellen DeGeneres because I think she’s incredible and amazing, Barbra Streisand because I love her and think she’s incredible, Elvis, for all the reasons I said before… How big is this party? Nelson Mandela, and Joan of Arc, just to mix it up a bit.

My biggest flaw is… Bossiness. I’m very bossy.

My best feature is… My nose.

The meaning of happiness is… To wake up every day and to not wish for any more than you’ve got.

My perfect Sunday is… A dog walk, breakfast, then a dog walk down the river as I love the Thames, I’m obsessed with it! Lunch with friends, pub crawl back to Bloomsbury where I live, feed the dog, then out for drinks in Soho, another dinner, probably Chinatown, then late drinks and dancing somewhere, then back to my kitchen to put the [DJ] decks on with all my friends for a midnight rave. Pretty much my Sundays are like that, every Sunday, I love it!


My happy place

A post shared by Gok Wan (@therealgokwan) on

My earliest memory is… My brother and sister being at school and me sitting on the dining room table and I was drawing, or I had a pencil and I was sharpening it, and my mum was hoovering, and I remember my mum saying “Throw the sharpenings on the floor because I’m hoovering” and I thought it was really naughty, but very powerful. It’s weird isn’t it, but that is genuinely my earliest thought.

The person whose career I admire is… Probably Dame Judi Dench. I love her, I think she’s incredible, fascinating, and she’s really interesting, so Judi.

If I could enter a time machine, the time period I would go to is... The late 1950s/early 1960s, because I love the fashion.

My favourite family tradition is… Around the dinner table, we all feed each other from our bowls. We all take food from the centre, and we all feed each other.

Watch the trailer for Say Yes To The Dress Lancashire

Say Yes To The Dress Lancashire premieres Friday, March 22 at 9pm, exclusively on TLC (BT channel number 323/377 HD).

TLC is one of the extra entertainment channels available for BT TV customers.

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