OMG! Creator of hit diet that knocked Dukan from top spot was Harry Potter actor
00:47 GMT, 3 June 2012
Nom de plume: Paul Khanna published the book under the name Venice A Fulton
It's the controversial slimming book that has knocked the Dukan Diet off the top of the charts. But the true identity of the author of Six Weeks To OMG has been shrouded in mystery.
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal he is an aspiring British actor whose most high-profile role to date was as a ‘Death Eater’ in a Harry Potter film.
The book’s cover proclaims it is written by the flamboyant-sounding ‘Venice A. Fulton’. But the author is in fact Paul Khanna – a 39-year-old personal trainer from North London.
His new diet plan, which critics accuse of being targeted at impressionable teenage girls, has taken the United States and Britain by storm, after it was first self-published as the ebook Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends. Dieters are promised they can shift 20lb of fat in six weeks if they follow its rules.
The book advises them to skip breakfast and instead drink black coffee and immerse themselves in cold water for 15 minutes in the morning to kick-start the metabolism.
Fruit juice, starch and carbohydrates are banned. And one of the diet’s most contentious claims is that the carbohydrates in broccoli can be as bad for slimmers as those in Coca-Cola.
Publisher Michael Joseph, part of the Penguin Group, has confirmed that ‘Fulton’ is actually Khanna. Spokeswoman Francesca Russell admitted: ‘Paul wrote the book under a pseudonym to keep his acting career separate from his vast experience as a personal trainer and the meticulous research he undertook for the book.
Film magic: Death Eaters with Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes
‘It’s a highly credible book. He
certainly wasn’t trying to hide anything. He chose the name Venice
because it sounded androgynous, so it would appeal to men and women. He
also loves Venice Beach in California.’
In the book’s publicity material, the author reveals only that he wrote the plan in a library in Finchley, North London, has a degree in sports science from the University of Bedfordshire and came up with his dieting theories after reading scientific papers on metabolism and weight.
His credentials as a fitness trainer with ten years of experience, including with unnamed celebrity clients, have been emphasised as equipping him with the knowledge to create the radical plan. But the book has been blasted by some as ‘pseudo-science’.
Bestseller: Khanna's hit diet book, Six Weeks to OMG
The author has also been accused of
deliberately targeting teenage girls with the ‘OMG’ title ( ‘Oh My God’
in text language) and the chatty style peppered with exclamation marks.
He has denied that was his intention.
writes: ‘It takes a few brave humans to stand up and try something new.
Eventually, the truth spreads from these explorers, and makes all our
Khanna has also tried to make his name as an actor, with numerous appearances in films and on TV. In 2004 he won 1,520 as a contestant on the BBC’s The Weakest Link, and also landed his first speaking part – as a lifeguard in The Basil Brush Show.
The same year, he was a runner-up in an amateur film contest with a short he made called Running On Empty, about a man’s dash to find ketchup before his chips are cooked.
In 2010, he landed the part of a Death Eater – a follower of Harry Potter’s evil nemesis Lord Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes – in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. According to website IMDb, Khanna wrote 200 letters to movie professionals and received one reply, from the film’s casting director Fiona Weir.
Khanna auditioned for her but was so disappointed by his performance that he recorded another audition video at home. He posted it on YouTube and it was seen by the film’s director David Yates, who cast him.
His book has been slightly adapted by Michael Joseph for a paperback version to be published on July 5. Additions include more messages to encourage readers to have a positive body image.
Banned food: The book claims carbohydrates in broccoli can stop slimmers shedding weight