A Diverse New Queer Eye Five Sets Its Sights on Conservative America

Featuring the same energy and self-love ethos that defined the original, a next-gen Fab Five is unleashed on the nation.

by | February 7, 2018 | Comments

Have you heard the T? The Fab Five are back! Carson Kressley and his fabulous Queer Eye crew hung up their sheers and skinny jeans in 2007, but the formula they made famous in the early aughts is coming back in a big way to Netflix.

The newly revamped Queer Eye quickly taps into the same energy and self-love ethos that made the original seasons such a sensation. Plus, a little timely social commentary doesn’t hurt, either. This new incarnation is set exclusively in Atlanta, Georgia, and its surrounding suburbs, purportedly to connect the Fab Five with our nation’s more conservative clientele. The season is, after all, about moving from tolerance to “fighting for acceptance.”

Rotten Tomatoes caught up with showrunner David Collins and the new cast, which is made up of Bobby Berk (interior design), Karamo Brown (culture), Antoni Porowski (food and wine), Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), and Tan France (fashion). The guys told us why now’s the time for an all-new Queer Eye, how the series allows them to be themselves loudly and proudly, and how it differs from the original Bravo series — for starters, VanNess said, “[We’re] ripping out some of those ideas and starting fresh and checking in with where we are as a community now.”

1. The new Fab Five knows they have big, stylish shoes to fill. 

When the original Queer Eye debuted on Bravo in 2003, it marked the first time that real-life queer culture was brought into living rooms nationwide without being a series exclusively catered to the LGBTQ niche. These guys were on Oprah! It’s a fondness and respect — and a pair of big shoes — that the new Fab Five carry with them today.

“My memories of it is just being so happy to see real gay people represented on television and real gay role models,” Berk said. “There were gay shows. There was Queer as Folk, there was Will & Grace, but it was mostly straight actors playing gay people, and the Fab Five were the first true gay guys out there showing us that you can have a successful life, you can be out, you can be proud. [They] gave us real true models to look up to and later become.”

2. This Fab Five is diverse in ways we haven’t seen before.

(Photo by Courtesy of Netflix)

It should be noted here that comparisons between the two casts are not to pit them against each other.

“There’s nothing wrong with the first version of the show, that’s just where we were,” Porowski said.

“It’s just a different space,” Berk added.

“And it was necessary to get where we are today,” Brown said.

Van Ness capped it off: “It’s just a little bit different now.” (Can you tell these guys finish each others’ sentences?)

It’s an important distinction to make. But with onscreen diversity playing such a massive part in the cultural conversation today, it was important for this cast to reflect the world in which we live. France, who’s of Pakistani descent, sees it as an opportunity for Queer Eye to resonate with even more audiences around the globe than they did in the past.

“That’s something that I think is really important, and I think it was a great move on Netflix’s part,” he said. “They wanted to make it a much more diverse cast. This is a major global show — this isn’t just for America anymore. It was great that they were able to capture the spirit of America in the first year, but now they really do capture the spirit of the world. We have people from all over and we actually do talk about political issues. We talk about real cultural issues that weren’t talked about in the original show.”

3. And that diversity goes beyond race.

(Photo by Courtesy of Netflix)

Especially when it comes to LGBTQ representation on TV, things can get, in Brown’s words, a little “cookie-cutter.” This series takes a stab at breaking that mold by showcasing different body types and personality types, in-grown hairs, and all.

VanNess, for instance, said he would rather forget “the moment when I decided I was going to wax my torso for the next two years and had cystic acne all over. I thought that as a gay man, I was supposed to be hairless, and I learned that from what metrosexuality meant. Part of my relationship with the grooming aspect with Queer Eye [was] I kinda wanted to tear that down.”

4. Self-love informs the Fab Five’s rapport with their straight clientele, too.

(Photo by Courtesy of Netflix)

Just like VanNess learned to love his more hirsute nature, it’s evident that the crew’s intent here is to build up rather than tear down those who join them episode to episode. There’s no single secret to personal health and beauty, and these men are not going to be forced into a box. The Fab Five take the time to learn about their wants and needs and then go from there.

“Because you’re gay or straight does not dictate what type of body hair you have, and because I’m gay does not mean I should to be telling you how you need to wear your hair,” VanNess continued. “It’s more about: I’m passionate about the hair shape, I’m passionate about cutting hair, I want to know what your lifestyle is like. How much time are you going to spend on it in the morning? I want to get to know you, and that’s truly what I’m passionate about.”

“We are coming at it like however you are, that is you,” Berk added. “We’re just gonna show you how to be a little bit better. We’re not gonna make you over. If you’re hairy, great! If you have a beard, great! Let’s teach you how to moisturize it.”

Collins also weighed in on the cast’s rapport with their Georgian guests, saying that they were never mean spirited when playfully throwing shade.

“We do come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no shame in the game. It’s about lifting us up. Confidence, indeed, breeds success,” Collins said.

5. Expect to see a new side of the Fab Five this go-round.

(Photo by Carin Baer/Netflix)

We’re told that with this new Queer Eye, audiences will be treated to a more intimate look at the cast members’ personal lives — less gay caricature and more human being. Getting down to that personal level doesn’t just allow audiences to connect with them more, but for the men that they’re making over to relate and empathize with them and vice versa.

“This time around you learn more about us,” said Brown, who is a single father of two children. Others in the cast are married or in long-term relationships. “We are showing you such diversity of who we are, and I think that’s the breadth of our community. No longer are we trying to say everyone is this cookie-cutter shape that looks the same, that acts the same. We are very diverse, we have different viewpoints, different wants in life, different needs in life that are very similar to our straight counterparts.

“And I think that’s the beauty of what we do with this show,” Brown continued. “We connect on a level that maybe the first show didn’t, because if I’m talking to a dad, I can understand why you’re feeling like you’re not that great with your kids [or] why you feel overwhelmed. [Or] Tan and Bobby can talk about the problems they’re having in their relationship because their married relationship is just like any other married relationship. We do such a great job at representing the community as a whole, but also making it accessible to people who are not used to our community.”

6. The original guys have met the new guys — and given their seal of approval!

“We’ve all been together. It’s been amazing,” Collins said of his recent lunch date with his original cast and his new one. “The original guys couldn’t be more supportive and loving it. Who knows, maybe they’ll be a part of the show someday in a big cast. I don’t know, but, for them, they realize that it’s a new generation and a new opportunity for new voices to tell their story and their truth. And the cool part is that I think Carson, of all [of them], really realized the change that’s happened since 2003 and the opportunity for these guys to be new faces and tell their stories in a different way than Carson, Thom, Kyan, Jai, and Ted did.”

Queer Eye streams on Netflix starting Wednesday, February 7.

Tag Cloud

Trailer YouTube Red concert strong female leads mission: impossible anthology Comic Book comedies satire Marathons American Society of Cinematographers Funimation Paramount Network witnail Captain marvel Lifetime Avengers VH1 richard e. Grant Spike Tarantino elevated horror dc ITV jamie lee curtis 71st Emmy Awards TNT Ellie Kemper supernatural theme song Tumblr MSNBC Adult Swim Marvel GLAAD Epix Reality Cartoon Network Western Fox News Superheroe Kids & Family History Apple TV+ Biopics franchise latino Marvel Studios travel YA Countdown stand-up comedy DC Universe parents zero dark thirty Cosplay RT History Comics on TV comics cults Warner Bros. video on demand NYCC FX on Hulu quibi The CW Quiz nbcuniversal Endgame X-Men war Disney streaming service Summer 2015 TV renewals sitcom thriller Britbox romance transformers Winter TV game of thrones crime thriller BBC One talk show Set visit Vudu Turner Travel Channel Lifetime Christmas movies DGA VICE cars Showtime dragons CBS Cannes Academy Awards Drama blockbuster Best and Worst President Writers Guild of America Comedy Central cartoon Fantasy Election Holiday canceled TV shows Hallmark discovery Rocky toy story Animation Classic Film A&E PBS Amazon Prime Hulu TruTV serial killer Polls and Games hispanic Amazon cancelled TV series San Diego Comic-Con DC Comics spanish language Peacock Rom-Com dogs The Purge based on movie 2016 comic rotten movies we love Trophy Talk Lionsgate AMC Hallmark Christmas movies Schedule Ghostbusters Columbia Pictures nature Mary Poppins Returns worst video Ovation screenings unscripted game show political drama The Arrangement Watching Series movies Nominations Baby Yoda 4/20 anime The Witch A24 LGBT science fiction Grammys laika adaptation Family animated Rock Mary Tyler Moore Amazon Prime Video cats Fall TV crossover universal monsters Creative Arts Emmys DC streaming service Sci-Fi award winner Pixar Comedy Winners ratings Infographic IFC Films 45 USA Network HBO twilight HBO Go Logo Disney+ Disney Plus El Rey Year in Review Netflix Christmas movies Toys Holidays Thanksgiving free movies finale ABC Family Pride Month teaser dark Mary poppins south america 2019 Reality Competition FX asian-american slashers psycho foreign TLC Stephen King BAFTA renewed TV shows RT21 comiccon Disney Channel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt First Reviews Sneak Peek Discovery Channel Action BET BBC cancelled television biography E! Elton John 2017 Disney Plus Pop TV WGN Sundance Now MTV Esquire Syfy Acorn TV TCA Awards ghosts Tomatazos facebook documentaries Marvel Television Certified Fresh Black History Month Nat Geo YouTube Premium halloween Spectrum Originals Calendar CBS All Access The Walking Dead Spring TV police drama spinoff romantic comedy hist cancelled TV shows boxoffice CW Seed binge miniseries spider-man kids Starz Country Mindy Kaling composers emmy awards Walt Disney Pictures Anna Paquin child's play APB FOX Tubi Musicals TCA Winter 2020 stoner Premiere Dates BBC America Awards Tour social media New York Comic Con obituary cinemax Paramount National Geographic Women's History Month Superheroes Box Office Interview Binge Guide Chilling Adventures of Sabrina See It Skip It Star Wars mutant Dark Horse Comics Apple TV Plus name the review directors Oscars HBO Max Extras 20th Century Fox batman crime reviews festivals Song of Ice and Fire technology Food Network 007 cancelled VOD mockumentary LGBTQ TV singing competition BET Awards Pirates docudrama dceu Film medical drama WarnerMedia scary movies news Disney Pop Shondaland Amazon Studios spain indie reboot Trivia chucky Sony Pictures revenge NBC die hard casting cooking doctor who politics 72 Emmy Awards criterion Crunchyroll DirecTV FXX Podcast psychological thriller fast and furious children's TV 2018 disaster sag awards TIFF Video Games Emmy Nominations werewolf all-time robots Pet Sematary Universal Red Carpet films tv talk Sundance historical drama true crime christmas movies indiana jones best Freeform cops GoT harry potter Christmas OWN Arrowverse Television Academy Lucasfilm justice league diversity green book Mystery Emmys Teen USA TBS vampires book SundanceTV stop motion Musical classics 2020 TCM CMT TV Land Television Critics Association spy thriller Heroines sports Super Bowl movie PlayStation Netflix PaleyFest superhero TCA 2017 crime drama Film Festival Opinion Character Guide hollywood versus Chernobyl a nightmare on elm street Masterpiece Black Mirror zombie series documentary First Look ESPN OneApp adventure critics YouTube joker 21st Century Fox Brie Larson dramedy Rocketman space aliens Apple Nickelodeon Shudder zombies TCA breaking bad CNN 24 frames independent Sundance TV Mudbound sequel rotten Awards Bravo SXSW Photos Crackle MCU Hear Us Out ABC GIFs Valentine's Day SDCC natural history Martial Arts IFC television canceled golden globes Music what to watch Star Trek Turner Classic Movies E3 Horror streaming blaxploitation period drama screen actors guild