Joey Bevan: The Basildon boy on styling the biggest stars in showbiz
PUBLISHED: 20:16 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 20:35 18 September 2020
Styling some of the biggest stars in showbiz, Basildon boy Joey Bevan has proved dreams really do come true. Here he talks lockdown, losing weight and work-life balance
Southend fashion stylist and designer Joey Bevan has an unconditional love for Essex. Born and bred in Basildon, the 35-year-old, who now lives in Leigh on Sea with his dog Buddy, believes there is no place in the world he would rather call home.
‘I have lived in Somerset, London and lots of different places across the UK, but since I was 18 years old I have lived around this area, and it just feels like me,’ says Joey. ‘I’m a beach boy, I like kayaking and we have the longest pleasure pier in the world, so what more could you want?’ he laughs.
Sharing his Essex knowledge left, right and centre during our conversation, Joey could definitely give a local tourist guide a run for their money and despite his growing fame as an inspirational designer, Joey remains a down-to-earth Essex boy – cheeky, chatty and charming.
‘Leigh is like Kensington by the sea. Well, that is what I call it anyway,’ he laughs. ‘It is a little bit bougie, with nice places to drink and eat. But if you want to get great fish and chips, go to Oldhams of Westcliff. That is why I love living in a seaside town, it just has an atmosphere of coolness. I love London too, and a lot of my week is spent there, but it only takes me 40 minutes to get in to the city.’
On the topic of work, you may have seen his creations featured on the X Factor and Britain’s Next Top Model Live. Boasting an array of celebrity clients such as Little Mix, Jessie J and Lady Gaga, as well as brands like L’Oreal, Urban Decay and Disney, he is also known for his work with Ru Paul’s Drag Race royalty Shea Coulee (currently appearing in All Stars) and Manila Luzon.
In 2014 Joey made Essex very proud when he was commissioned to create 30 bespoke garments for the Queen’s Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace.
‘It was one of my biggest accomplishments. I’m from Basildon and Basildon people don’t get to meet the Queen very often!’ adds Joey.
Most recently he showcased his fashion styling skills on BBC’s You Are What You Wear, hosted by fellow Essex boy Rylan Clark-Neal. It is a fashion makeover series filmed in a department store and offers contributors the chance to receive a fashion makeover from one of the five stylists.
‘I have turned down so many shows in the past because they didn’t seem right, but I love this show,’ he says. ‘You Are What You Wear isn’t about the stylists. It’s about making those people we were helping be the best person they can be. It was really emotional.’
For those who haven’t had the opportunity to see the series yet, it is now available on BBC iPlayer. Joey, an LGBTQ, body positive and mental health activist, continues: ‘It is more about the people who have come on the show, who want help and advice, so we give them a makeover. We don’t want people to agree, we never agree in the stylist hub.’
So will we be seeing a season two? ‘Fingers crossed the show makes a return, but I think the way the industry is at the moment everything is up in the air,’ says Joey. ‘The rating and feedback has been really positive, but it is Hollywood hun, you just don’t know. I am just a poor council boy from Basildon. I don’t know about TV,’ he laughs.
Alongside his love and talent for styling and designing, Joey is also passionate about cooking and has his own food blog (@thestylishhomecook) which he claimed was a key aspect ‘of keeping him sane’ during lockdown. His blog reviews and creates stylish home-cooked meals for the journey to a plant-based diet.
‘I am on my vegan journey and that is what my blog is about,’ he says. ‘During lockdown I was cooking and creating recipes for people who were struggling to get specific ingredients. For example, I was making a lot of cakes with porridge oats because it was hard to get flour. Personally, it kept me busy, experimenting with these recipes to make them work. At times the results were awful,’ he laughs.
‘From a year of not eating meat, I have lost five stone. I look nothing like I do on the show,’ he laughs. ‘I have had people come up to me and say, “Are you related to that guy from You Are What You Wear?”’
We are going through a very uncertain time and it is evident lockdown has had a detrimental impact on people’s mental health. During lockdown Joey has been very open about his mental health on his social media platforms and used them to help him get through this pandemic and to help others.
‘I have been honest and real on my social media stories when I felt like crap. My followers have kept me sane and chatting,’ he says. ‘On the flip side, I have had lots of people tell me that I have kept them going during this. Someone even brought me dinner to say thank you.’
But Joey believes, that when you put the pandemic into perspective you can learn so much from it, even though it has been hard at times. ‘I stayed in for 14 weeks without leaving my two-bedroom flat with a balcony. It was challenging to say the least, but I found a way to enjoy it.
‘I live near to the seafront and I go there just a couple of hours a day to take in what’s around me. It has also been an opportunity for me to take time out and rethink what’s important in my life. 75% of our life is work, so we must slow the rat race down.’