Rylan Clark-Neal reveals why he thinks he’s the worst person for the job of hosting BBC1's new fashion makeover show You Are What You Wear...
Rylan Clark-Neal is swapping his usual black get-up for a (shock, horror!) a blue shirt to present BBC1’s new makeover show You Are What You Wear, which gives people a confidence boost thanks to wardrobe tips from professional stylists.
Before they’re let loose on the show’s bespoke ‘department store’ for their killer transformation, everyone who comes on the show must stand in the dreaded mirror room and tell Rylan what they see. The results are amazing, though, from cancer survivor Karen, who swaps her high-vis jacket and steel toe-capped boots for a gorgeous frock and heels, to Chris, the man who won’t wear anything that isn’t black!
We arrived on the set of You Are What You Wear, for a chat with Rylan Clark-Neal, 31, about changing his own style to host the show, which starts tonight, and why he’s got hang-ups about his appearance like everyone else…
What was the appeal of You Are What You Wear?
"I like it because it’s a fashion makeover show but there’s no nastiness. We’re not telling anyone they look terrible. Everyone has their own reasons for coming on the show, be it losing a partner or just losing their mojo, and I was quite shocked at just how emotional it could get.
"It can be heart-breaking what they say to me standing in front of that mirror, and it’s fascinating the hang-ups people have that the rest of us don't notice. Nobody is left crying though, there are only tears of joy and that’s what’s so lovely about it – people leave happy."
Makeover shows used to be massive, didn’t they?
"They were a big phenomenon and then they went from styling to surgery. I loved them, especially the moment when they say, ‘Look at what this person looks like now.’ But I think it got to a point where it was more shaming than celebrating and rather than dressing a bigger woman in a way she feels amazing they would recommend liposuction. That’s not what we’re here to do. I can’t remember a fashion makeover show that was just nice to watch like this one, it’s a kind programme."
Do men get makeovers on the show, too?
"Yeah, and that’s amazing because even in 2020 most of these shows are aimed at women. We have a disabled man who just wants to wear things to make people look at him rather than the wheelchair. There’s another guy who’s quite short, he’s got an amazing body, but he doesn’t know where to find the clothes for his height. Then there was one man who wore the same suit for a funeral, his wedding, his divorce and then his second wedding – he said, ‘Well I spent a lot of money on it!’"
Do you spend much time planning what to wear?
"No, I wear the same outfit all the time! I usually live in a black shirt and black skinny jeans but I’ve been bullied into wearing a blue shirt for this series. I’ve actually got no idea why they gave me this job, I’m the least stylish person on telly. I did mix it up again for Supermarket Sweep – the store manager badge really changed the whole outfit! I’d love nothing more than to wear a vest top in the summer, or a pair of shorts… but I hate my legs and my arms. I’ve got my hang ups, like anyone else."
Did your time on Strictly: It Takes Two inspire you to be a bit bolder?
"They put me in some suit trousers for the launch that didn’t look terrible. I’ve got enough sequins from X Factor to last me for a lifetime but they’re safely locked in the loft. I’ve had so many fashion fails over the years, there’s one photo that haunts me – it’s me in a club aged 17 and I was wearing a yellow T-shirt that said, ‘Blondes have more fun’. I’d peroxided my hair but it wasn’t blonde, it was dirty orange, like a traffic cone that had been on the M25 during rush hour in the rain. What an idiot!"
* You Are What You Wear begins Thursday June 11, 8.05pm on BBC1
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I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.
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