Last night’s edition of Make My Body Younger featured Bianca Gascoigne who’s just 22 years old, so one might’ve assumed that she wouldn’t need making any younger, however, her partying lifestyle – including massive alcohol consumption – meant that her body was struggling to cope with all the stresses she was putting it through.
And of course, being the step-daughter of Paul Gascoigne, a notorious alcoholic, images of her staggering out of clubs at 3am, falling down drunk were manna from heaven for the press and Bianca wanted to change all that.
I was prepared to dislike Bianca when I began watching this show; I expected her to be something of a spoiled brat and a chav to boot, however, as the programme went on, what I actually saw was someone who, despite an outward façade – primarily created by media coverage of her – of being someone brash, loud and as I mentioned, a potential poster-girl for chavs everywhere, what she actually came across as being is an insecure young woman lacking direction…
Bianca’s best known of course – apart from being sort of related to Paul – for being a glamour model and ‘IT’ girl, and as someone who’s paid to party. Consequently, she was drinking pretty much every night of the week and living a shallow existence that consisted of parading her bodily wares for lads mags by day and by night, parading her drunkenness.
However, during this programme – presented by George Lamb – she underwent the ‘Living Autopsy’ which basically consists of an examination of her internal organs as well as a battery of physical and psychological tests, and the results were quite a shock to her.
Dr Andrew Curran oversaw all the tests as well as the living autopsy and compared the ‘age’ of her organs to her biological age of 22. The results were that her lungs were like those of a 30 year old, her skin a 28 year old and her brain, most shockingly, was comparable to that of a 64 year old. This was due to her alcohol consumption which was on average 17 units per night.
One of the things that upset Bianca the most during the living autopsy was that Dr Curran told her she was, in terms of NHS classification, very close to being an alcoholic, a fact which reduced Bianca to tears but ultimately hardened her resolve to stop drinking.
So, enter the rather lovely Dr James Lambert who went on a night out with Bianca and her friend Sam in order to observe her behaviour and drinking habits. It was clear from the outset that Bianca rather fancied Dr James, and I can’t say I blame her…
Anyway, the next morning, when he showed her that she’d drunk half a bottle of vodka as well as champagne and shots, he thought she’d be shocked about her intake, but actually, she thought she’d done really well and not drunk very much, so it was James who was shocked. He thought she’d be quite horrified by it but to find she actually was of the opinion that it’d been a light night out threw him off his stride somewhat.
His remit was to get to the bottom of Bianca’s problems in that he wanted to find out why she drank so much and why, for someone who’s a glamour model and therefore by definition has a ‘good body’, she felt quite the opposite, stating that the only part of her body that she likes and is happy with were her lips. Clearly what Bianca sees in the mirror and in photographs of herself wasn’t/isn’t what the rest of us sees; she spoke of looking fat and of having a “weird” body shape. With regard to her drinking, she told James that she felt she needed to drink in order to be confident when making public appearances.
He countered the issue of her confidence by taking her to see a “voice and confidence coach” who taught her various methods of controlling nervousness including breathing exercises. Again, I’d expected Bianca to be flippant about such things, but in fact, she was totally receptive to everything the coach taught her and did in fact use it.
Her first major challenge came when she made a personal appearance at a nightclub in Dublin and she passed the challenge of staying booze free for the night with flying colours.
But then, James visited her and suggested that the layers of make-up that Bianca routinely wore were not necessary and in fact hid her true beauty – something that her mother Cheryl entirely agreed with. However, when a make-up artist gave Bianca a “make-under” and removed the heavy make-up, her vulnerability was clear to see and in fact made her extremely unhappy.
One didn’t need to be a psychologist to see that the make-up was “a front” behind which Bianca hid. It represented to her a mask in effect and she struggled to stay away from the layers of foundation, eye liner and false lashes, but the effect was quite remarkable. She began to look more like a normal 22 year old rather than a Jordan wannabe.
Throughout the show, Bianca had said that her real ambition was to be a DJ however she was so afraid of failure, she’d never even tried it, so towards the end of the programme, the newly sobered, less made-up Bianca finally took her DJ friend Fenton up on his offer to show her how it’s done. She was also given a guest spot DJ’ing in a nightclub and ultimately, she loved it. She did it without drinking too, which to be fair, considering she was a) in a nightclub and b) very afraid of failure, was pretty good going.
In her final battery of tests and another living autopsy one month after she’d stopped drinking, exercised more and faced some of her demons psychologically, the improvement in her overall health and general wellbeing was remarkable. The results showed that in just four weeks, her lung ‘age’ was now 25, her skin age also 25, her brain an astonishing 44 – where it had been 64 – and her overall health was comparable to the age of 30, so in such a short time of living a more healthy lifestyle, she was getting nearer and nearer to being, in bodily terms, her actual biological age.
Overall, this show was both entertaining and enlightening. It was enlightening in that it showed quite graphically what harm we do to our bodies and also that when someone is receptive to change – as Bianca was – how quickly the damage done by years of living ‘badly’ can be turned around.
And we got to see Bianca as herself rather than the girl everyone recognises as being Paul’s step-daughter and someone headed down the same route that he went. Hopefully, she’s continued to live better and therefore won’t make headlines by falling out of clubs and won’t satisfy the blood-lust of the media and permit them to document her downward spiral as they did with Paul.