As Britain's most successful and high profile make-up artist, for the past 15 years Gary Cockerill has glossed the lips, curled the lashes and shared the secrets of the famous and fabulous.
With his unique style of super-sexy, uber-glamorous make-up, Gary has been responsible for helping to launch the careers and keep the secrets of a host of famous names, including his best friend Katie Price.
But behind the glitz and glamour is a heart-warming and at times hilarious story of how a former Yorkshire coal miner with no training or contacts fought his way up to become the celebrity world's make-up artist of choice. In From Coal Dust to Stardust, Gary reveals how a job spray-painting the faces of shop mannequins in a grimy West London factory led him to America and a hair-raising stint working with the superstars of the adult film industry. He explains how he landed his first celebrity client and within a few years was back in Los Angeles again, only this time working with true Hollywood movie legends. Today, with a star-studded client list that reads like a copy of Vanity Fair magazine, Gary has become a loyal friend and confidante to many of his regular clients. In his role at the heart of the celebrity circus, he reveals what it was like to have a ringside seat for some of the most notorious tabloid scandals of the Noughties.
Running alongside Gary's rise to fame is his candid and moving account of coming to terms with his sexuality and meeting his first boyfriend - now husband, Phil Turner - while in the middle of planning a wedding to his glamour model fiancée Tracey. He also lays bare his own struggles with shopping addiction, his dabbles with drugs and how his newfound celebrity lifestyle threatened to spiral out of control and destroy everything he had worked for.
Gary's fairytale journey from the mines of Doncaster to the VIP rooms of London and LA is a moving and funny tale in the mould of Billy Elliot - if, that is, Billy ended up pole-dancing in a strip joint at the start of Act Two. Entertainingly gossipy but never bitchy or cruel, Coal Dust to Stardust will be a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary celebrity culture.