TV style guru Gok Wan talks about his new autobiography – and tells us why writing it was his hardest job yet…

Is it true that the publication of an unauthorised biography prompted you to share your story?
“Yes. It really annoyed me, so I thought it was time to set the record straight. I don’t want other people to write things that aren’t accurate – it needs to come from me.”

But your family were not that keen?
“They wanted to protect me. My friends and family are very important to me and have my best interests at heart, but nevertheless I threw caution to the wind and did it! I’ve still got reservations now, though. Writing this book is the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life! I started writing it at the beginning of the year and then I backed out. I wasn’t going to have it published and then I thought to myself, let’s just see what happens. I sat down one day and 10 weeks later it was done, so it was an intensive rollercoaster”

Was it an emotional experience?
“It was absolutely horrendous and anyone who says it’s a purely cathartic experience is a liar. Writing about traumatic events in your life is actually much harder than being there the first time round because you have to relive all those moments and you know what the outcome is. The book allowed me to exorcise some demons and get things straight in my head, but the pain overtook that sometimes. Part of me wants to say it was fine, but do you know what? It wasn’t – it was really tough.”

But ultimately you are glad you did it?
“Anorexia is a very isolated, hidden disease, especially in boys – guys don’t talk about it and yet it does happen to them. This is my way of saying to kids that are killing themselves that you are allowed to discuss it and you must never be ashamed, because it’s a psychological disease. If I can just give them another voice in the back of their head to help them on those really bad days then it’s not been a waste of their money.”

How are you now?
“I’m happy with my lot now. There’ll always be a part of me, which is that insignificant fat boy. I’m still afraid of being bullied or letting people down, but for the first time in my life I have really begun to respect who I am as a person. I feel confident with my relationships and I love my job. I can’t actually believe I get paid to be a best friend – how amazing is that?”

Was it hard when you first started How To Look Good Naked?
“Yes. I was thrown back into a world of body dysmorphia, which meant I started to suffer with my own body perception again. For a while I considered whether I was the right person to make the show, but I’ve managed to justify that to myself. A lot of people say the reason the show is such a success is because I’m so empathetic, because I understand it and because I do actually care. I believe in the message of the show and I am being cured the whole time that my ladies are being cured.”

So you are very proud of what you have achieved?
“We’ve made a massive difference worldwide now and people are looking at their bodies differently – they are looking at the ideal female form differently. We aren’t entirely responsible, but I think we’ve had a large hand to play.”

What do you want to do in the future?
“At the risk of sounding like Miss World, I really want to do more charity work. My job means that I live in a bit of a vacuum, so one day I want to open up a styling school for kids with learning disabilities. I’d like to do some academic writing or a research paper on identity. After all the psychology-based work I’ve done on the show, I’ve got theories now that I’d like to look at. Oh and I’d like to fall in love, get married and have children, too!”