Since its premiere last year on Netflix, Queer Eye has stolen the hearts of everyone who is watching it. Because it is the perfect kind of feel good show so many of us are looking for. And a lot of that is thanks to the “Fab Five” as everyone calls them. Culture expert Karamo Brown, grooming guru Jonathan Van Ness, Fashion counselor Tan France, culinary guide Antoni Porowski, and design extraordinaire Bobby Berk have become like family. We laugh with them, we cry with them, and we give them our best “YAS QUEEN!” as we binge the show over a day (or two.)
And now, with the third season of the hit show recently dropping, we’re so ready for another romp with the Fab Five. After spending so many hours watching the show, anyone who watches feels like they already know the guys. But, ultimately, there’s a lot about the Queer Eye guys that we have no idea about. Or maybe, some people have no idea about. If you have a Queer Eye obsession, you’ll likely know most of the things on this list. But if you’re still a newbie, or just curious, then read on for things you may not already know!
Instagram / @karamo
If you's a fan of MTV, chances are you remember seeing Karamo on your screen. He was a member of The Real World: Philadelphia way back in 2004. Before he was the resident culture expert on Queer Eye, he was one of the seven strangers sharing a house on the longtime MTV Show. Even though The Real World has previously had gay cast members, Karamo was the first openly gay black man to be one of the housemates on the show. He was already doing a lot of the same advocacy work then that he does now!
Instagram / @jvn
He’s not just the resident grooming expert! Jonathan hosts a weekly podcast, Getting Curious, where he talks about...everything. Seriously, there is nothing that he doesn’t cover. He’s done episodes with experts on things like politics, climate change, journalism, you name it. Listening to an episode makes you think this is what conversation must be like if he got you into his stylist’s chair. Not only are the topics relevant, but the way he handles the questions really makes sure that listeners learn something at the end. If you want to know a little bit of a lot of things, you can listen to Getting Curious wherever you listen to podcasts.
Instagram / @antoni
If you're a fan of the original, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, you likely know that Ted Allen was the food guy. Now, he’s the host of Chopped on the Food Network. But in what can only be described as serendipity, Antoni Porowski actually worked as a personal chef for Ted before being chosen for the reboot. Ted also gave him guidance to improve on his skills. So, people who criticize Antoni of not being a “real” chef should be quiet, because Ted obviously knows food, and if he trusts Antoni, a bunch of absolute strangers should too! He did learn from the original!
Instagram / @kingdomandstate
Anyone who’s watched the show knows that Tan France is fashionable af. And not just fashionable, but he clearly knows what he’s talking about when making recommendations. So, of course, you’d want Tan to dress you, because you know, no matter what, you’re going to look amazing. Well ladies, we’re in luck! Tan and his business partner Rachel Parcell have a clothing line, Kingdom & State. It’s all women’s wear — think tops, dresses, and even swimsuits. Everything is the perfect blend of classic and modern, just like Tan. And it is surprisingly affordable, given that Tan is now a well known fashionista.
Instagram / @bobbyberk
You can hear him singing every once in awhile, but if you’ve seen season two, episode one, Bobby talks about singing in his church choir when he was younger. When he and Karamo take Miles to meet the gay chorus in Atlanta, they invite him to sing along. And turns out boy has got the skills to keep up! He blends right in there, singing all those bass harmonies like a little gay angel. Ahead of the release of season three, he shared a video of himself singing the show’s theme song with members of Mama Tammye’s church from season two. He’s not half bad!
Instagram / @queereye
You would never guess by looking at the Fab Five that they didn’t know each other before meeting during the audition for the show. “It was like speed-dating. We’d go in groups of five from table to table with various executives and just rotate until they found who they were looking for,” Bobby explains to Variety. "It was really amazing because they had like an instant bond in the casting," says David Collins, one of the executive producers of Queer Eye. Their chemistry is palpable through the screen, so it makes sense they were all cast! And thank goodness for that!
Instagram / @tanfrance
The producers of the show actually found Tan on social media. But he wasn’t sure if TV was for him. He tells E.T. “I was the kind of guy that didn't really like to get his photo taken. I thought that they weren't going to cast me because I made it very clear to the person that told me I got this job, ‘You are out of your mind. Do not give me this job. I get uncomfortable getting my photo taken.' I went to the audition because I thought I would make some gay friends. I never thought that I would get a job."
While all of the Fab Five are ridiculously handsome, Antoni is like, beyond. You’ll know this to be true if you’ve ever seen his Instagram. How can someone make wearing jeans and a tee shirt (or less) just so damn sexy? So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in the past, our little Canadian bacon was a TV actor. He never had a major starring role in anything, but he definitely has a few guest roles under his belt. He was on The Blacklist, Daddy’s Boy, and The Pretenders. We hope he decides to act again soon. Or maybe model?
Given how close they are now, it’s hard to believe this story, but it’s true! Shortly after Karamo was on The Real World, he was served with papers for back child support. Since he was unaware of said child, obviously this came as a surprise. It turns out that the mother is his high school girlfriend — they had sex, but she moved away shortly thereafter. Once Karamo found out about his son, he took the steps to ensure their relationship. Eventually he gained full custody of his son and his son’s brother, and has raised them as a single dad ever since!
As he reveals throughout season two especially, Bobby grew up in the Christian church. His family is incredibly religious. He spent all of his time at church — he was even a deacon in his junior church. But as many of us know, most super religious Christian churches are not accepting of gay people. Majorly homophobic. And Bobby knew from a young age that he was gay. As he tells Bobby Camp in season two, he would often “pray the gay away,” because he knew that he was not going to be accepted as he was. The homophobia of the church is what ultimately led him to leave home at 15.
It’s hard to believe that someone with as big of a personality as JVN isn’t from a major city. And especially now that he splits his time between New York City and Los Angeles, you would never know or suspect him being from anywhere else! But in reality, he’s from the town of Quincy, Illinois, which as of 2010 had a population of around 40,000 people. On multiple occasions, he’s talked about how he was bullied relentlessly in his town for being gay. He even received death threats. We bet those people feel pretty stupid now that he’s so successful.
When asked by Glamour about life in the loft, Bobby says, “It’s Jonathan and Tan running around like little kids, poking at each other and giggling and screaming, and me and Karamo looking at them to straighten up. That’s every day. But we don't actually live there. We live about 30 minutes away [from the loft] in an apartment building.” They do spend a lot of time in the loft though. And Bobby uses it more than anyone else, as it doubles as a production office. That’s why you see him in there working on design ideas. And yes, Bobby is the decorator of the loft of course!
Again, this is a big “eff you” to the people who claim that Antoni can’t cook. But anyway, if you want to pick up on his tips, you’re in luck. “With appealing vulnerability, he shows cooks of all levels how to become more confident and casual in the kitchen. The verve and naturalness of his approach earned raves from Food & Wine and Bon Appétit to GQ and the New York Times, which noted his dishes prove that “sometimes simple is anything but simplistic,”” reads the description. Antoni in the Kitchen is available for pre-order and comes out on September 9th, 2019.
In his book, Naturally Tan (love the title!) “Tan France tells his origin story for the first time. With his trademark wit, humor, and radical compassion, Tan reveals what it was like to grow up gay in a traditional South Asian family, as one of the few people of color in South Yorkshire, England. He illuminates his winding path of coming of age, finding his voice (and style!), and marrying the love of his life.” Tan adds, “The book is meant to spread joy, personal acceptance, and most of all, understanding.” Naturally Tan releases on June 4th, 2019 and is available for pre-order.
Per the book’s description, “Karamo reflects on his lifelong education. It comprises every adversity he has overcome, as well as the lessons he has learned along the way. It is only by exploring our difficulties and having the hard conversations—with ourselves and one another—that we are able to adjust our mindsets, heal emotionally, and move forward to live our best lives.” He talks about growing up in a multicultural house (he’s Jamaican and Cuban), living in predominantly white areas in the South, and what’s it’s like to redefine the concept of culture for the show. It’s currently available through all major book sellers.
We already know that our love JVN is a truly multifaceted individual. And he’s damn fabulous. So, it’s no surprise that he would of course be releasing a book all about himself. Over the Top, his appropriately titled memoir, will be coming out in September 2019. As of right now, there are few details, but Jonathan has this to say on Instagram, “I put my heart and soul into this project over the last year and I can’t wait to share her with you.” Expect that it will likely be stories about his life and how he got to where he is, told in that honest and truthful way only he’s capable of!
Anyone who watches the show knows that Bobby is a home design genius. Seriously, the way he manages to transform those houses is amazing. And so many of us would kill to have him redesign our homes. That may be pretty impossible given his schedule and the fact that he is now a highly in demand designer, but we’re in luck. While his furniture line is no longer available, he does have a partnership with Tempaper Designs for wallpaper! The wallpapers include really fun, but not over the top patterns, bold colors, and the best part? It’s all temporary!
The third episode of season one opens as usual, with the Fab Five driving to meet their hero. Except, it takes a turn for the terrifying when a cops pulls them over randomly. Of course, Karamo was driving, and didn’t have his license on him. Everyone knows about the extremely troubling relationship between cops and black people, especially in the south, where they were filming. “Are they gonna immediately just harass us [he and Tan], just because of who we are? People at home, who’ve never got to see that, are gonna get a small glimpse of what that is,” Karamo explains to IndieWire.
If you live in New York City, or plan to visit there sometime soon, you should head to Antoni’s restaurant, The Village Den. Nestled on a tree lined street in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, the restaurant serves up fast casual food. But it’s fast casual with a twist — it’s healthy. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it can’t, and doesn’t taste good. The Village Den caters to different diets: paleo, vegan, and even keto. But one thing it doesn’t do is skimp on flavor. There are breakfast bowls, hearty salads, and updated versions of the classic TV dinner. It looks delicious!
This should definitely not come as a surprise given his personality, but yes, Jonathan Van Ness was once a high school cheerleader. Ever the game changer, he was actually the first male cheerleader at his school, Quincy Senior High School. Of course, he would be the person to break down such barriers, given what we know about his strong personality, and the way he easily subverts gender norms and stereotypes. He actually attended the University of Arizona on a cheerleading scholarship (there are very few male cheerleaders) but he lost his scholarship because he didn’t like attending class. Apparently, he preferred to watch reruns of The Golden Girls!
This really isn’t news if you’ve ever heard him speak a word. But sometimes you can hear an accent an not be able to place it. Tan was born Tanweer Safdar to Punjabi Pakistani parents in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. After studying fashion at Doncaster College, he moved to Manchester. And after leaving Manchester, he headed to London, which is where he lived before moving to the United States. Him being from England is definitely what lends to his level of sophistication. And it gives him that really cute accent, where even when he’s being insulting, you’re kind of into it.
Karamo went to high school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas back in the 90s. After the shooting last year, where 17 students were killed, he was one of the many celebrities who rallied behind the school and its students. "You know, not only as an alum, but also as a parent now, thinking about those precious lives that were lost, it means it’s time for change. Enough is enough,” he tells Entertainment Tonight at the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C. "To see that school, my high school, on television, and students be running out of the same hallways that I used to walk around gleefully broke my heart," he also says.
Bobby may be a design genius, but even he’s only human. Because in some cases, he is literally building rooms from the ground up, he simply cannot work in the time parameters of the show. So, he will get specs for the houses in advance, this way, he has time to order fixtures or things like windows that need to be bought in advance. "I would get a little one-sheet on the guys or the guys and their families,” he explains to Architectural Digest: And then, he and his team work around the clock to make sure the house is ready for the big reveal at the end of the time with the heroes.
“We had more time, logistically and literally, to go deeper than what they did in the first round,” Bobby explains to Variety. Since the show is on Netflix and doesn’t have commercials, they have more time to fill. And even then, we’re only seeing a little bit of the time the heroes spend with the Fab Five. In an Instagram story Q&A, Bobby explains that they usually meet the heroes on a Tuesday morning, and they’re doing the big reveal by Friday morning. It’s kind of frantic and fast paced, but they wouldn’t have it any other way honestly.
Seriously. Bobby and his hubby Dewey Do, are seriously adorbs. If you follow Bobby on Instagram (as you should be!) you can see pictures of them together. Basically, they turn us into a giant heart eye emoji. While we don’t know much about Dewey (he keeps a super low profile, and his Instagram is set to private) we do know a little bit from what Bobby shares publicly. They’ve been married for about six years, as Bobby explains during the first episode of Queer Eye that he has been married for five years. In season three, episode four, he mentions they've been together for 14 years. They also got married as soon as it became legal, he revealed on Instagram. The couple lives in LA, previously living in NYC.
Yeah, it seems like a very unlikely pairing. But Tan’s husband is in fact a gay Mormon. Technically, his husband Rob France, is a gay, Mormon cowboy. And he’s also a very talented artist. "It made it easier to date somebody who had similarities to me. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke. We practice some of our religions’ practices. We don’t practice them all. We practice what works for us,” he tells the New York Post. According to Tan, Rob didn’t propose to him, and he didn’t propose to Rob either. They just decided to get married and that was it. So, it’s not the most romantic story, but you can see how much they love each other!
Between the first two seasons of Queer Eye, Karamo and his then boyfriend, director Ian Jordan got engaged. In May of last year, Karamo got down on one knee and popped the question in front of their friends and family (and yes, the other members of the Fab Five were there!) Using Ian’s birthday as an excuse, Karamo set out to throw a party and have a special night. And after a special video and a speech by Karamo’s son, he asked Jordan to marry him. Of course, he said yes. They have adorable matching engagement rings. As of right now, they haven’t set a date, but we’re sure it’s going to be fabulous.
Even though four of the Fab Five identify solely as gay, Antoni does not. “I’ve always considered myself a little more fluid along the spectrum,” he tells Gay Times in a feature from April 2018. “So even being called bisexual… I remember in my early twenties I was like, ‘But bisexual means I can only like girls and guys, what if I like something else?’.” Considering the show is called Queer Eye and not something like Gay Eye it makes sense that at least one of the cast doesn’t identify strictly as one thing. Most recently, Antoni was in a relationship with a man, but clearly, he’s open to just about anyone.
Our patron saint of fabulousness is so much more than just a hair guru. If you’ve ever watched Jonathan, you know he’s hilarious. So it’s not surprising that he would take his natural ability to make people laugh and put it on stage. He has been touring around the country doing stand-up comedy since last year (he did a 10 date tour via Hotels.com,) but now he’s mounting a bigger tour, called Road to Beijing. The tour takes its name from his recent foray into figure skating — his goal is to become a good enough figure skater to participate in the 2020 Olympics in Beijing, China.
Even though they only first met at the audition for Queer Eye, the Fab Five are now the very best of friends. "It’s like a fraternity," Jonathan claims, via Bustle. Tan is equally amazed at the intensity of their bond as the Fab Five. “I never expected that these idiots would become some of my favorite people on this planet, but they are,” he says in an interview with Glamour. In the same interview, Jonathan also says, “I was not expecting to actually walk away from [our set in] Atlanta with people who are in my life. And these boys are in my life.” Aww!