It’s 2019, and the third season of Netflix’s Queer Eye has just been released — it’s a good time to be alive. The LGBTQ+ community is making strides in normalizing our presence in mainstream media. But even without conducting a very thorough, investigative and journalistic Google search, I can tell you that being a queer person in the 21st Century is still not all rainbows and butterflies.
Young STAR got to hop on a phone call with the Fab Five — well, three of them: Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness, and Tan France — and talk about what else needs to be done to achieve true equality, how they connect with people from different walks of life, and who they’d like to makeover next.
How are you guys able to connect to your heroes almost immediately, and what’s the biggest thing that you’ve learned about yourselves in interacting with them and doing the show?
Antoni Porowski: I’ll answer part of that. The connection happens for some of us outright, and some later on in the week, but I think it’s really a testament to the wonderful casting department that we have. They really choose heroes who are, I think, ready for a change in their lives. So when we meet them, they’re quite ready to be open and vulnerable. But I will say that as a result of the show, you know, when we were in Kansas City, the heroes… some would definitely recognize us and have a little bit of background (on us), because they’ve seen the show. So I think there’s a little bit more trust there (when that happens), which is kind of interesting to see and navigate, which I think kind of helps our situation. And then maybe sometimes it distracts from it. I do feel like for me personally, it was a little bit easier getting into it because there was already this foundation of trust.
Jonathan Van Ness: I think all of us use our verticals to connect with people who we may not have got to have in our lives and be exposed to. Tan, I feel like, uses fashion to connect with our heroes, and I use hair. We all have something we’re passionate about in our lives; to be able to use that passion with our lives and even with what we do before Queer Eye, to connect with the people we get to work with now. That’s how I get to know them.
Tan France: I’m gonna echo that and say that I think without our individual verticals, I think it would be quite difficult to connect. I think having that as a vehicle for connection makes things so much easier.
Queer Eye has definitely had a positive effect on the LGBTQ+ community, by way of normalizing and diversifying what the mainstream viewer sees. What is one thing that you’d like to still change about the way that the world sees and treats the LGBTQ+ community? If you had the power to change anything about the world right now, what would it be?
Antoni: The power to change one thing about the world? I think it would be… it’s a general one, but it would be I think what a lot of people experience when they see Queer Eye for the first time. What I like is that I get the feedback that suddenly, they see being gay no longer as a concept, but as personalized in the five of us and our back stories. I wish we lived in a world where we basically came off as people first, and that there aren’t any hang-ups, or any predisposed negative thoughts that came along with being LGBTQIA, and people just saw us as people. I guess just a path towards total acceptance.
Throughout the three seasons, you guys have had a wide range of heroes from regular white folks, hunters, trans people, women, leather daddies, lesbians, and more. Is there a certain perspective or person that you’d like to feature that you haven’t yet?
Jonathan: Yeah, maybe someone like, with a rescue thing for animals! I wanna makeover a cat person.
Stream Queer Eye Season 3 on Netflix.