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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 280 > THE BODY BEAUTIFUL

THE BODY BEAUTIFUL

BIG ONES, SMALL ONES, SKINNY ONES, TALL ONES. THERE ARE ALL SORT OF BODY SHAPES AND SIZES AND THEY CAN ALL BE GORGEOUS AND DESIRABLE. JUST REMEMBER TO KEEP IT REAL…

LE GATEAU CHOCOLAT

PERFORMER, AUTEUR, DRAG ARTISTE, OPERA SINGER

How did you feel being photographed naked?

Really good. I didn’t want to do it at first, but I suppose this was a defiant response on my part to “no fats, no femmes, no Asians”. We need to represent variety. The gay community is a marginalised minority, but we are incredibly fascistic when it comes to our bodies. We’re awful. The other extreme is: “have you got a big cock?” Then there’s size, which makes me a bear, then there are chasers as well. That’s what you’re bombarded with, for a long time you kowtow to that kind of thinking: to be accepted or excel, I have to sit squarely in that expectancy. That made me deeply unhappy. It’s part of what spread my depression, being subliminally informed that you’re not enough.

When did you begin to move from that depression towards accepting yourself and realising you deserve love?

I don’t think you ever get there, to an end point. I think it’s a work in progress. Some days are exhausting and some days you feel like Wonder Woman. But if you think about how those epithets are born, if you only have that abb’ed muscular jock, twinky image represented, then it’s just viable that when you go on those apps you don’t want anything other than what you’ve been fed. I think it’s part of our responsibility to speak out and use a platform and showcase reality. Not everyone lives to have three per cent body fat, and that’s not derogatorily speaking about those that make that paradigm. But there are so many more of us.

How important is your body to your work?

I started in clubs in Brighton in 2008. At the time I was much bigger than I am now, and there was no hiding it. Most of my outfits were skin-tight Lycra, which was a conscious decision on my part to embrace and say: “this is what I’ve got to work with”. I think part of engaging with that denial and depression was largely putting Gateau on the stage. I was using my body as a tool and the things I was saying on stage fed into my life, and my courage to embrace my body on stage enforced the idea of who I was in my life as well.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, would you say you’re not just looking at a physical being but a much bigger picture?

Absolutely, it’s the whole thing. Some people don’t look at the whole thing, they only look at the body. I think there’s a level of dysmorphia that I have, or people have, when you’ve lived as a product of people’s projections. Hopefully, doing things such as this shoot says to people that they don’t have to be perfect. You’ve got to embrace the idea that you are enough.

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About Attitude

Tom Daley is on the cover of Attitude’s ‘Body’ issue, talking exclusively about his ideal physique and why he’s tired of being seen as just a body. Plus, Attitude celebrates the male form in a revealing shoot with eleven men... Our survey of over 5000 readers reveals the shocking truth about how gay men really feel about their body… Editor-in-Chief Matt Cain strips off to show exactly what magazines can do to turn a real body into a fantasy physique… Plus, Joel Dommett reveals some rather embarrassing personal details about his time in the I’m A Celebrity… jungle.
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