It’s been fifteen years since the Emmy Award-winning series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy revolutionized reality television.
The series returns to Netflix and is going global, introducing audiences around the world to a modern aesthetic, diverse perspective and a brand new Fab Five: Antoni Porowski (Food & Wine), Bobby Berk (Interior Design), Karamo Brown (Culture), Jonathan Van Ness (Grooming) and Tan France (Fashion). This season Queer Eye trades its original New York setting for communities in and around Atlanta, Georgia. Our new Fab Five will forge relationships with men and women from a wide array of backgrounds and beliefs often contrary to their own, touching on everything from LGBTQ+ rights and social commentary to how to make the best farm-to-table guacamole and more!
We caught up with the Fab Five to discuss bringing their magic to the new Netflix series.
The Knockturnal: Hey Fab Five!
The Knockturnal: Did you guys watch the original Queer Eye?
The Knockurnal: And so what from the old show did you guys infuse in the new show? If anything?
Jonathan Van Ness: Joy
Bobby Berk: Fun.
Tan France: Yes.
Bobby Berk: Happiness.
Jonathan Van Ness: Yeah joy and fun is definitely ever-present in both series, I feel.
Tan France: And the reminder that we are not breaking these people down, we’re lifting them up. So we are treating them with so much love. We want to shower them with attention.
Jonathan Van Ness: Except for when that facial hair be super a lot and I just need to have a loving conversation about what we have to … There’s some conversations that have to happen, but it’s always like with love and fun.
Tan France: Yeah.
Bobby Berk: So just like how the original show was not a ‘makeover’ show, it was a ‘make better’ show, same here. One of the big differences though is it’s no longer ‘Queer Eye For The Straight Guy’, it’s just ‘Queer Eye’. So we’re helping straight guys, we’re helping women, we’re helping gay guys, we’re helping trans guys. We’re not out there as five gay guys giving a gay opinion, we’re out there as five guys giving a loving hand.
Antoni Porowski: Yeah. It touches on the universality of these things that we all experience, basically.
The Knockturnal: In the show, you guys really help some people who need it. Talk about why a show like this is so important for the time we’re in right now.
Karamo Brown: Well, you know, nowadays it’s important to have culturally relevant conversations. A lot of people still haven’t been exposed to gay men. A lot of people still don’t know how to be curious about life, and I think that’s what we do so well. We show these men that it’s okay to talk about the things that people have told them, “You can’t talk about.” We allow them and give them permission to be themselves, and that’s great. And I think that’s what’s really important.
Jonathan Van Ness: Yeah I also think there’s, like in general, we need to add a constitutional amendment that if there’s a Republican administration, Queer Eye comes back. I just think that’ll keep us safe, it keeps the conversation moving, you know?
Bobby Berk: That’s really important.
Jonathan Van Ness: So, yeah. I just think that if there’s a Republican administration…I think that’s just something we need to do.
The Knockturnal: Slight shade.
Antoni Porowski: In furthering that, seeing how divided we are, it’s also we have the opportunity to actually show how we’re similar. That we all experience these same things and that, you know, at the end of the day, as the trailer says, it’s figuring how we’re similar as opposed to how different we are.
Karamo Brown: That was funny as hell.
The Knockturnal: Right? It was funny and shady. Wow.
Bobby Berk: We’ve all pretty much heard all of his jokes, but that one was new.
Karamo Brown: That was really good.
The Knockturnal: I got a new one, okay good.
Bobby Berk: You got a new one.
The Knockturnal: I love the show. I cried the first episode.
Karamo Brown: That really makes us feel really good, that people cry because we want people-
Jonothan Van Ness: You’re going to make me cry, stop.
Karamo Brown: People watching the show, it’s going to be fun just like the original time, but we bring a depth and emotion this time that I think is really amazing. So when we hear that people got emotional, it makes us feel good because it lets us know that we got the heart. We got to the inside and the outside, which is really great.
The Knockturnal: Yeah. Do you guys fall in love with each person? In how you keep up them each episode?
Tan France: Yes.
Antoni Porowski: Oh my god.
Bobby Berk: Absolutely.
Jonathan Van Ness: Yes.
Karamo Brown: Yes.
Tan France: It’s hard not fall in love with them. It’s different … this show we actually spent a whole week with these guys. Last time it was just a day.
The Knockturnal: Oh, so we only see one episode.
Tan France: Yeah. And we all have a few hours of individual time with these guys most days. So we get to know them as a friend, not just as somebody we’re making over. These are life-changing changes, and that’s what’s really important for the people that we’re helping. So, they keep in touch with us months on. They’re still in touch with us saying, “You changed my life.”
Antoni Porowski: It was sad at the end of every week, after you spend so much time with them and suddenly it’s like, “Okay bye.” It’s like leaving camp and suddenly you’re alone. We would have these little pizza parties and be like, “Oh.”
Karamo Brown: But luckily we had each other. That’s the beauty of what the Fab Five is, is that we’ve bonded as brothers, as family, and so I think you see that. It’s like a family going in, and we include somebody new into our family for a little bit and sometimes we have to set them back into the world, but we always have each other’s back.
Bobby Berk: Sometimes we kept some of them?
Karamo Brown: Yes, I did.
Tan France: You did.
Karamo Brown: You did not know that. You did not know that.
The Knockturnal: What have you learned from doing the show? What has it taught about life and in general?
Jonathan Van Ness: One thing I feel like I’ve learned is that, like, willingness is so important. If you’re into doing something new, if you don’t want to be … it’s harder to teach someone something. And I think that that can change. Like people can change. I think I thought at the beginning, I was like, “Oh this might be really rough.” But then a lot of time there’s was just like these really transformative experiences. It really got me shook.
Tan France: Yep.
Karamo Brown: I think it’s about being open. I think we learned that people are more willing to be open and in turn, I think for me especially, it allowed me to start being more open to things that I would have been turned off to.
Tan France: Yep.
The Knockturnal: Congrats guys, I love your show.