The original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy premiered in 2003 on the cable network Bravo. The series quickly became a massive hit with mainstream audiences, which was largely attributed to the chemistry among the cast members. The “Fab 5” cast included experts in food (Ted Allen), grooming (Kyan Douglas), fashion (Carson Kressley), interior design (Thom Filicia), and culture (Jai Rodriguez).
Between 2016 and 2017, creator David Collins connected with Netflix to produce an updated version of the show, which became the Queer Eye revival. However, it became evident that a new group of five experts would have to be cast for the series to resonate with younger audiences. Thus, a new Fab 5 came together: Antoni Porowski (food), Bobby Berk (interior design), Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), Karamo Brown (culture), and Tan France (fashion).
The Queer Eye reboot premiered in February of 2018 on Netflix. Just like its original iteration, the show quickly became a hit and developed a massive following. Its cast, which is also referred to as the Fab 5, became an internet sensation, prompting thousands of memes and gaining millions of fans.
Despite the fact that Netflix has yet to confirm that the show will have a third season, this announcement seems imminent and unavoidable. In any case, the Fab 5 guys have already propelled their careers to new heights, becoming staples in popular culture as well as in their own fields.
These are 20 Crazy Secrets Behind The Making Of Queer Eye.
20 THOUSANDS OF GUYS WERE CONSIDERED FOR THE CAST
Before landing on Bobby, Karamo, Antoni, Tan, and Jonathan, the team behind Queer Eye surveyed “thousands and thousands” of guys, according to creator David Collins. Overall, it took one full year for the show to be cast, shot and released on Netflix. Thus, it was a very long process for everyone involved.
Additionally, David Collins mentioned that they looked for guys from all over the world to join the cast of Queer Eye.
One of the biggest criticisms of the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cast was regarding the show’s lack of diversity.
Thus, the reboot made sure to diversify its cast and explore all of the possible options for the Fab 5.
19 THE TOP 40 GUYS HAD A FINAL CASTING CALL
After surveying thousands of possible cast members to join the series, David Collins and the rest of the Queer Eye production team landed on the top 40 guys that could be considered for the show. All of the 40 candidates were flown to Los Angeles for a final casting call.
That final casting call focused on looking for chemistry among the guys, aiming to achieve the perfect combination of people that would work on-screen. That is because one of the most important strengths of the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was the great chemistry that the cast members had between them.
After the approval of mainstream audiences, it certainly seems like the Queer Eye revival did a great job with picking its cast.
18 TAN DID NOT APPLY TO BE ON THE SHOW
Being part of Queer Eye seems like the gig of a lifetime, particularly if you are meant to follow into the footsteps of Carson Kressley, who was the original show’s fashion expert and undoubtedly the breakout star of the franchise. However, as the story goes, Tan France did not actually apply to be on the show. Instead, Tan was found by producers on social media.
Even after being called for an audition, Tan France was still uneasy about the whole thing.
“I went to the audition because I thought I would make some gay friends. I never thought that I would get a job,” Tan has said.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Tan is a worldwide superstar who seems indispensable to Queer Eye.
17 KARAMO WAS ON MTV’S THE REAL WORLD
Many years before becoming the first African-American member of the Fab 5, Karamo Brown had already made history on reality television. In 2004, Karamo was cast on MTV’s The Real World: Philadelphia, becoming the first-ever openly gay black man on the history of that very successful franchise.
Philadelphia was the 15th season of The Real World. Besides the history that it made with Karamo Brown, this was also the first season on the show to feature two openly gay cast members. William Hernandez was also featured in that season.
Karamo Brown is no stranger to breaking boundaries on TV, which means that he was certainly perfect for the Queer Eye role he was granted.
16 BOBBY WORKS MORE THAN THE REST OF THE FAB 5
If you watch Queer Eye closely, you may have already drawn this conclusion. However, most people may not have realized that, without a doubt, Bobby Berk is required to work much more than the other four Fab 5 cast members.
This is not to say the others don't work hard, but refurbishing an entire home is certainly more physical work than grooming, cooking, giving cultural advice, or selecting clothes.
Bobby Berk has said, “While my Fab brothers often had three to four days off a week, some weeks, depending on what we were building, I worked seven days a week.”
It is certainly believable that Bobby has to work overtime to get things done in seven days, even if he interacts the least with each of the show’s heroes.
15 ANTONI HAD A CONNECTION WITH THE ORIGINAL FAB 5
The craziest story behind the casting choices in the Queer Eye revival has to do with Antoni Porowski.
Way before the idea of rebooting this series even came to mind, Antoni served as the personal chef to Ted Allen, who was the food expert in the original.
In hindsight, it certainly seems like there was no other person who could have been more perfect to substitute Ted Allen than Antoni Porowski. He already had Ted’s blessing, that is for sure.
After appearing on Queer Eye, Antoni has also expressed that his orientation has been fluid over the years, which is certainly unlike most of the other Fab 5 members over the years.
14 THE NEW FAB 5 CAST MET WITH THE ORIGINAL CAST
Of course the Queer Eye cast met up with the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cast members, and of course it was filmed by Netflix and released online!
The special episode, which was appropriately titled “Queer Eye Kiki: The Original Fab 5 meet the New Fab 5,” saw both groups of guys sharing experiences, stories, and advice.
During the episode, Bobby Berk shared that he used to work for a furniture store that the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy crew visited during their time on the original show. As a matter of fact, Bobby mentioned that he got fired from the store while trying to make it look good for the show.
13 KARAMO REALLY DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE COP
On the third episode of season 1, a police officer pulled over the car that the Fab 5 was driving. Given the issues of African-Americans and police brutality, it seemed like Karamo Brown was very uncomfortable with the situation. However, the pulling over of the car was actually staged, because the “hero” in that episode was a cop, and the production team behind Queer Eye just wanted to reinforce the theme of the episode.
Despite the fact that everything was under control, Karamo has stated that he had no idea that this was going to happen.
Thus, his tense, on-screen reaction to the situation was honest.
Later in the episode, Karamo and Cory – who was a police officer and the “hero” of that episode – had a deep conversation about where they were coming from.
12 THE SHOW CHANGED LOCATIONS
The original show was set in New York City. However, creator David Collins believed that the Queer Eye reboot would benefit from being set in a less likely place for five gay men to wander around helping people: the state of Georgia.
Throughout its first season, the Queer Eye revival visited the cities of Atlanta, Dallas, Winder, Marietta, Norcross, and Covington. Then, the first episode of the series’ second season was set in Gay, Georgia. Furthermore, season two also visited the cities of Dahlonega, Decatur, Athens, Maysville, and Clarkson.
As a matter of fact, during the last episode of that season, the Fab 5 helped out Ted Terry, the Mayor of Clarkson.
11 FUTURE SEASONS MAY MOVE ELSEWHERE
Having explored much of Georgia already, the production team behind Queer Eye is interested in bringing the show to other regions that are considered more rural when compared to the metropolitan cities in the East and West Coast of the United States. For instance, creator David Collins has spoken about being interested in bringing the show to Cincinnati, Ohio, his hometown.
It seems like Netflix and the Queer Eye team wants to bring the show to the Midwest.
This include states such as Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Wisconsin, to name a few. This is known as a generally more conservative region in the U.S., which definitely makes things interesting for the Fab 5.
10 THE FAB 5 SPENDS MORE TIME WITH THE “HEROES” NOW
The original cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy spent one day with their “heroes,” which is the term that the show uses for the people that they are helping out. Moreover, in the original iteration of the show, the heroes were always straight cis men.
However, the Queer Eye reboot changed thing up a bit, opening up the category of heroes to women and LGBTQ people. Additionally, the show now spends much longer with heroes than it did before.
Overall, the Fab 5 spends an entire week with each hero, alternating between people.
For example, one day may be dedicated for Karamo and Antoni to spend time with the hero. Then, the next day may be all about Jonathan and Tan, for instance.
9 KARAMO’S SPECIAL CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS
Karamo Brown broke ground on MTV’s The Real World and Netflix’s Queer Eye, so it does not come as a surprise that part of his contract has to do with inclusion and diversity. According to Karamo’s interview with the America’s AIDS Magazine, it is expressed in his contract that two to three gay African-American men must be hired onto the Queer Eye crew.
In recent times, the inclusion of minorities behind the cameras has become a point of contention in Hollywood. While the people appearing on-screen have diversified somewhat, production crews are still largely composed of white straight cis men.
Thus, Karamo Brown believes that a show such as Queer Eye should have a more diversified crew, and decided to express that desire on his contract with Netflix.
8 QUEER EYE HAD A CROSSOVER WITH NAILED IT!
Aside from Queer Eye, Netflix has another reality TV show that has gained a lot of attention in 2018: Nailed It! It is not surprising that the streaming service decided to bring the two together, right?
Nailed It! is a reality series where three extremely amateur bakers compete for a $10,000 cash prize. With the growing success of that show alongside Queer Eye, Netflix produced a crossover episode in which the Fab 5 competed against one another.
However, for the Queer Eye/Nailed It! episode, Antoni was assigned to be a guest judge, because it would not be fair for the food expert to compete against the other Fab 5 cast members.
7 SEASON 3 IS REPORTEDLY TAKING PLACE IN MISSOURI
According to reports from a local radio station in Kansas City, Missouri, the Queer Eye production team is searching for “heroes” in the city. These reports are in line with previous statements from creator David Collins regarding his desire to bring the show to the Midwest region of the United States. Furthermore, Kansas City, Missouri is only an eight-hour drive from David Collins’ hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio.
If the state of Georgia already served as an interesting playground for the first two seasons of Queer Eye to explore, it certainly seems like Missouri and Ohio are states in which the Fab 5 will be able to thrive.
Now, we only have to wait for Netflix to actually announce the show’s season 3 and give it a release date.
6 A SPECIAL EPISODE TOOK PLACE IN YASS, AUSTRALIA
The first episode of the second season of Queer Eye took place in Gay, Georgia. When the production team found out that there was a city in Australia called Yass – like the popular expression “yaaass” – of course they had to fly the Fab 5 there and film a special episode.
The Queer Eye episode called “Yass, Australia!” was released on YouTube. It is twenty minutes long, just like the average Queer Eye episodes that air on Netflix.
In the episode, an Australian cowboy called George is made over by the Fab 5 after being nominated by his son, Levy.
With Queer Eye, Netflix has been posting a lot of extra content online, particularly on YouTube and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
5 SKYLER'S GROUND-BREAKING STORY
Season 2 episode 5 of Queer Eye features Skyler, who has become the first-ever trans man to ever receive a makeover from the Fab 5. The episode, called “Sky’s The Limit”, was filmed in Athens, Georgia and centered around Skyler maturing his look as an adult man.
During the episode, Tan France shared his limitations regarding the subject of trans identity and the process of transitioning. However, upon hearing from Skyler, Tan learned more about how the trans experience was really like. The episode began with a video of the Fab 5 watching Skyler just as he was waking up after having an operation.
This was a groundbreaking moment for the Queer Eye franchise, which has famously made over men, but had previously always focused on cis men.
4 A.J. FROM SEASON 1 SOLD HIS APARTMENT AFTER IT WAS REDONE BY THE FAB 5
One of the breakout “heroes” of the Queer Eye reboot was A.J., the first-ever gay person to have been helped by the Fab 5. Despite the historical significance of being a gay man who was being made over by other gay men in the series, A.J. captured the attention of audiences for being a quirky guy with a wild side.
Over the course of the episode, the Fab 5 helped A.J. improve his sense of style and self, and refurbished his apartment to become a beautiful unit. However, as it turns out, A.J. told Bobby that he sold the apartment after it was made over.
Despite being a sound financial decision, it is certainly upsetting that A.J. did not get to live in the home that was redone with him in mind.
3 TOM AND ABBY SEASON 1 GOT MARRIED AGAIN IN 2018
The first episode of the first season of Queer Eye had Tom as its “hero.” Furthermore, much of the episode surrounded Tom’s ongoing interest in Abby, his ex-wife. The Fab 5 quickly picked up on that fact and tried to make Tom better for Abby, actively trying to impress her during the episode.
Well, it turns out that it worked. As of May of 2018, Tom Jackson and Abby Parr got married for the second time.
As if things could not have been cuter, Tom decided to wear the same suit that was tailored for him on Queer Eye.
Moreover, he also wore a shirt that was hand-picked by Tan France on the episode. He has a lot to thank the Fab 5 for!
2 NEAL FROM SEASON 1 STILL REGULARLY TEXTS ANTONI ABOUT FOOD
According to Antoni, Neal was certainly one of the most challenging “heroes” that the show had to makeover. Neal was featured on Queer Eye’s season 1 episode 2, and he seemed to have a very limited skill set when it came to cooking.
Over time, it certainly seems like the Fab 5 impacted these people positively and kept in touch with them. However, maybe a week is not enough time, because some of these heroes need the Fab 5 on a 24/7 basis. For example, Neal still texts Antoni on a somewhat regular basis, asking about food and sending pictures of things he has prepared.
Moreover, Tan has stated that some of the show’s heroes send him pictures of themselves in fitting rooms, asking for advice about what to buy.
1 THE FAB 5 IMMEDIATELY CLICKED
During the final Queer Eye casting call, which included the top 40 candidates to land this gig, Antoni, Karamo, Tan, Jonathan, and Bobby clicked immediately.
As a matter of fact, the five of them even created a group messaging thread that they named “Fab 5" before they even knew they were cast in the show.
Thankfully, it all worked out for the five of them, as it would’ve otherwise been awkward for everyone involved.
On the other hand, it is great to know that this group of people developed a bond and friendship even before the cameras started to roll, and what is seen on-screen is actually a real connection between the five of them.
Do you have any other trivia to share about Queer Eye? Leave it in the comments!