They say remakes are hardly ever as successful as the originals, but Netflix Original Queer Eye has blown apart this theory. Now in its second season, the rebooted makeover show is still hosted by a Fab 5 — a quintet of gay gurus who are experts on food, fashion, beauty, interiors and culture. But unlike the show’s previous iteration (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Queer Eye features a variety of subjects — from straight dudes, church moms, transgender yuppies and gay men. Best of all, there’s a wonderful inclusion of conversations about real life issues that often leave audiences laughing and crying after each episode.
There’s a rich selection of LGBTQ+ content on Netflix today — Queer Eye is in good company. With the Fab 5 becoming such a beloved part of pop culture, we heard from Queer Eye’s own culture expert Karamo Brown about LGBTQ+ representation and understanding how a makeover could resonate with millions.
YOUNG STAR: What are the changes that you’ve seen in the TV landscape in terms of LGBTQ+ representation and diversity behind and in front of the camera?
KARAMO BROWN: What I’ve seen regarding diversity in front and behind the camera is that people in marginalized communities, especially the LGBTQ+– community, are no longer allowing other people to share their stories. It’s about taking the pan out of Hollywood hands and writing our own stories and that’s what’s most important.
Your show tackles specific LGBTQ+ issues and stories. Were there any issues/stories that you felt were quite personal to you as a member of the community?
There are many issues for me that I felt were very personal. For instance, the conversation I had with Cory during season one shows the intersectionalities of me being a black man and a gay man in the United States and that episode resonated with a lot of people. In season two my conversation and field trip with Skyler and to take him to get his gender marker changed at the DMV is something I hope will shift the conversation for people who have never been exposed to the trans community. I hope they better understand the trans community is just like any other human being and they just want respect and love and equality.
Your show has made such a huge impact on LGBTQ+ audiences in the Philippines and across the globe. How does it feel to connect with LGBTQ+ people and giving them the opportunity to see themselves in your show?
It’s an honor that people in the Philippines feel so connected with myself and the other guys in the Fab 5. It shows us the importance of visibility. It allows people to feel as if there’s hope for their own lives, that they have an ability to do whatever their heart desires and whatever they dream. And I think what’s really amazing is that it’s not just LGBTQ+ people who love the show and connect with us, it’s also our straight allies who understand the core of the human experience is just wanting to dream to be loved and have a future where you can be happy.
Stream the first two seasons of Queer Eye on Netflix.