What Not to Wear host Stacy London is a fashion guru. On her weekly makeover show she helps fashion victims everywhere find their personal style. But things weren’t always so easy for Stacy. She grew up with psoriasis. She found out she had the disease when she was 4, and after a tough childhood battling the disease, she’s never looked back.
Currently, Stacy is a spokesperson for the National Psoriasis Foundation’s
Psoriatic Arthritis Total approach to Health (PATH) program, which offers tips on how to improve overall health and live with a positive attitude. For more information on the PATH program, visit Psoriasis.org/PATH. OK! caught up with the TV host to discuss fighting the illness, her TV shows and her fashion faux pas!
How’d you get involved with the foundation?
Two things got me involved. Years ago I had an ex-boyfriend, who also had psoriasis, who told me about the foundation. I’m very much aware of the affects of the disease. That was my first introduction. My second was when the foundation approached me. I want to help empower people to have a very realistic approach to all aspects of your lifestyle in dealing with these kinds of diseases and also, you know, for lack of a better term, take the bull by the horns and really master living a full life with these kinds of diseases. I really believe that will lead you to a better, sort of more positive outlook on your life.
How did you overcome it?
Humor. I really tried to be funny. I think that’s what made me constructively critical of other people. I know what’s cruel and what isn’t, and I am very, very clear about that line. And there were people who could laugh with me and make fun of having a disorder with me, that I loved because I got it. I got the fact that they were accepting of me even when they were joking with me, and that’s different then somebody being cruel. And that’s the difference between What Not to Wear and sort of telling somebody they look crappy. We are really looking to be constructively critical. I think that constructive criticism in this country is sort of really underrated because what underlies it is a true heartfelt concern. So if you’re going to joke around with somebody that has a psoriatic disorder, do it in a way that obviously has some heart to it.
Is there anyone that you made over on What Not to Wear that hasn’t kept up with it that you wanted to just shake and say, "Why didn’t you just listen to me, you look like a mess again"?
Oh please, yea, there are oodles of those people. But they will learn in their own time. You can’t push people too hard. You can’t push a mule. But some people look like that because they are in their comfort zone. And whether or not that winds up being some sort of protective shield for them physiologically, whatever it is, people come to realizations in their own time. What’s great about our show is that in a very short amount of time, if someone is willing to sort of take it on they do, in fact, feel great, and that’s all we can hope for.
Do you look back on stuff you’ve worn and been like, "Oh my god, how did I leave the house like that, what was I thinking during this period of my life"?
Don’t get me started! It was from about the age of 9 till 30. Those 20 years were not pretty. It started with glasses and braces when I turned 9, and it just basically got worse from there. I mean look I grew up in the ’80s, it was a tough time!
Did you always want to have your show own like Fashionably Late?
Well, you know I feel like it’s sort of the next step. I’ve been doing What Not to Wear for five years, Clinton‘s been doing it for 4. The rules of fashion styling after a certain point are pretty finite, so this is another way to really explore fashion in style, the larger picture of style, in a more kind of a girlfriend party kind of way. I just love the idea of that, I love playing hostess. And I love the idea that you can still get information and get how-to take-away stuff, but do it in this great sort of party setting that you don’t even need to leave your couch to enjoy, I mean there’s just nothing better. You can go watch my show on Friday night, go shopping on Saturday and have killer shoes that everybody is talking about on Monday. What could be better?
By Jocelyn Vena