Gok Wan

TV presenter and style guru Gok Wan has worked in the fashion industry for the best part of two decades. Initially training in performing arts, he entered the fashion industry through early work as a hair and make-up artist on titles such as The Sunday Times. Finding himself dissatisfied with beauty alone, Gok pursued his love of clothes as a fashion stylist and in 2006, he became a household name in Channel 4’s How to Look Good Naked.

Acceptance speech

Education isn’t something that you should sniff at, it's not something that comes lightly, it’s a lot of hard work and you guys are very special for graduating at getting through it. I never did, I left school at the age of 15 with no GCSE’s, I also went to drama school and left after the first year because I didn’t feel clever enough and I didn’t have the confidence to get through one of the biggest hurdles of my life that was education.

I have said for the whole of my career ‘never have a regret’. If you carry on regretting – it’s a waste of time and effort, just get on with the rest of your life but of course, we are all human and all of us have regrets. One of the only regrets in my life was not completing my studies.

Birmingham has always been a massive part of my life – growing up in Leicester just 40 minutes down the road. Mum and dad would bring us over and we’d eat in China town and as I got a bit older  I’d go and get drunk in the clubs and the bars, and then later on in life as an adult, I would bring my TV shows here.

There is something about Birmingham which is warm and friendly, but there is also something about Birmingham which is creative and that’s because it’s the centre of England. It’s where a lot of people migrate to and find a base. We always brought our shows here because we thought it was really worthwhile and we weren’t wrong.

The industry – creative services. I’ve worked in creative services – I’ve been so lucky for almost two decades now and it’s incredible. It is amazing. It’s full of the most interesting, diverse, accepting, brilliant people with the most incredible skills sets. You will enjoy every single second of it. If there’s one piece of advice I could give – follow your dreams. Nothing is too big, nothing is too dangerous, nothing is too scary. In fact the bigger, more dangerous and the scarier it is, the better the experience will be.