The format of nearly every makeover show is this: “Here are some new clothes! Here's your nice new flat! Look how happy you are! Your life looks great! Look at the time! g2g bye!” Not Queer Eye, however. The rebooted show has a simple lesson that has intentionally turned this whole lifestyle genre on its head – a message of “Hey, it's nice to have the nice stuff we've given you, but if you still don't feel good on the inside too, it doesn't mean jack shit.”
The show's emphasis on mental wellbeing and improving you without changing you is so unique, it's left viewers wishing the Fab Five could step out of the television to bring empathy and understanding to their own lives. So ahead of the second season, we tried to do just that. We asked Antoni, Bobby, Tan, and Karamo to fix problems sent in to us by the BuzzFeed Community that were both trivial and not-so-trivial.
And yes, sadly there was no Jonathan. Why? He couldn't make the UK press tour.
Can you believe?
What are the ways you practice self-care when you have a super-busy, stressful schedule? – carolinep4618dea0b
Karamo: It's not as hard as you actually think. A lot of moments in life, especially during your lunch breaks, we find ourselves doing the same mediocre things. But actually what you need to be doing is exploring the world around you.
Instead of sitting at your desk or the cafeteria eating, go out eating in the park, go to a museum and eat your lunch in the museum.
That way you're taking time for yourself, you're actually exploring the world, and you'll feel better.
I'm a huge Star Wars fan and right now my apartment looks more like a 14-year-old boy's room than an adult's apartment. Any tips on how to decorate my apartment with my memorabilia but still keep it classy? – larso22f
Bobby: We ran into this issue with Joe Gallois with his bedroom – it looked like that of a 12-year-old [Joe appeared in Season 1, Episode 7]. It's great to still keep your Star Wars memorabilia – I'm a huge fan myself – but instead of just tacking up posters on the wall, have them professionally framed. It looks like you've put some time and thought [into it] and it's more of an art piece, rather than a kid's poster.
If you have a lot of the action figures, get a nice case for them, so again it looks like it is a collection instead of toys.
Antoni: I hang my Chewbacca in my fig tree and he's very happy.
What is an easy meal to cook when you’re feeling lazy or unmotivated but still want to be healthy? – cassidyk24
Antoni: A country omelette is really easy. It's easier than a French omelette. You use a slightly higher heat; you're going to brown the eggs on the outside. But you can add whatever vegetables you have lying around on the inside, which is great – from asparagus to mixed greens, to no vegetables at all – a bunch of cheese, and some mortadella or some bacon. You can go crazy!
Bobby: A Karamo omelette! No vegetables!
Karamo: No vegetables! None!
I have such a hard time flirting! How do you tell someone you like them without seeming desperate? – poorja, email
Karamo: When it comes to flirting, you have to check in with yourself first and realise that the insecurities that you have come from somewhere else, because to put all of those things in your mind, of like ‘Why am I feeling like I'm going to come off this way?’ – somebody put that into you.
Secondly, you have to remember that we're all humans, and the things that you're feeling someone else is feeling – we all want to be acknowledged. So long as you can go up to someone and politely say, “Hello, what's your name?” and politely let them know that you think they're beautiful by highlighting a feature on them (usually their eyes are something nice, their hair is something nice, or a piece of clothing they have on) and then start a general conversation, it will always work out well.
But don't be afraid of no. And realise that there's a million fish in the sea and one of them will be your catch. And if you get a “no” today, it does not mean that you will get a “no” tomorrow.
BuzzFeed: I'm keeping a note of that.
I just went through a bad breakup and although the relationship wasn’t too long or serious, it really affected my self-esteem. How do you maintain confidence after something like that? – KatiJupp
Antoni: You can start off by making a big fat mac and cheese.
Just having a little moment with yourself, light a candle, watch a show you really like. Let yourself wallow and go through the emotions. It is important to check in with friends as well, so that you don't stay lonely and have your bestie come over with a pint of nice ice cream or your favourite dessert. If you gotta get a little drunk, go ahead and do a little bit of that. Whatever your process is, but try to keep it within the bounds of some semblance of normalcy. Or buy a puppy – a puppy would cheer anybody up! That's all I got, guys. [Editor's note: Antoni is joking here. Please do not buy yourself a puppy.]
Bobby: After you wallow like that, use that time you would have spent with that significant other to do a bit of self-care. Reflect on yourself and do things that make you happy and not worry about them.
Karamo: I'm always good for a list. After a breakup, I like to write down the parts of my self-esteem that were affected by that breakup. Because sometimes the issues we have in our minds get bigger and bigger if we don't address them. And sometimes just putting them on paper and seeing that this person actually broke you down because of your body can help you remember that you need to focus on loving your body so that it doesn't become a bigger issue. You can see what exactly you need to focus on.
What would you want parents of LGBT+ kids to know, or do, after their child comes out to them? – Marc, email
Tan: OK, this is super cheesy but I want them to watch the whole season of Queer Eye. There are so many people that we get DMs from saying they watched Queer Eye with their parents and they were encouraged to come out during one of those episodes and it facilitated that conversation. It was a vehicle to be able to ease their parents into what we represent.
I think parents have a real common misconception of what it is to be a gay person, or a queer person, and I think that our show gives a more unique perspective. We do all represent many different versions of a gay person.
Karamo: And remember that you've been going through your journey of self-acceptance for a while. You have to allow other people to go on their own journey as well. So if you start to let someone – a family member or a parent – know “You know what, I'm gay” and they don't give you the answer you want immediately, it doesn't mean that you won't get the answer that you want later. They have a journey. Allow them to go on their journey, don't allow them to disrespect you, but allow them to go on their journey and someday you can find connection.
What’s the best way to organise and design a small space without spending a ton of money and remodelling the space? – Matthew, email
Bobby: One of my favourite resources is to go to Ikea and get a good Billy bookcase. Get the attachments that you put on the top of them and make sure you go all the way up to the ceiling. Not only does that utilise the whole space from top to bottom, it gives you more storage, but it also draws the eye up and it makes it look a lot larger and taller than it actually is. And it's cheap!
BuzzFeed: It's so cheap.
Bobby: It's inexpensive. Not cheap!
What advice do you have for first-time cooks? I'm moving out soon, and I'm so lost! The only thing I can currently make is a half-arsed pizza. – twalfie
Tan: Say it as if you are speaking to Karamo.
Karamo: What would you like me to do?
Antoni: [looking at Karamo] Just tap into the things that you like and just learn to expand on them, like something as super simple as pasta. If you are just starting out, if you have simple dry box pasta, learn how to make aglio e olio. Buy some good-quality olive oil, learn to toast garlic chips, you have yourself a sauce right there with a little bit of salt and you're all set.
You can expand into a carbonara, learn how to make a ragu. There's so many different things that you can do. You can make a primavera with tons of fresh roasted vegetables, you can put in raw vegetables – the possibilities are super endless.
Start with a box of pasta. It's a great little introduction.
How do you update your closet while on an extreme budget? – AbbyMWalsh
Tan: You can go to a thrift store, and keep it really limited. Go with a plan in mind, figure out what is appropriate for your wardrobe based on your style. We have loads of wicked of vintage stores in England.
You can find stuff that is so unique, that you're not going to find anywhere else. Go for stores like that.
How do you move on from someone you love when they don’t love you back? – sarahs4f3920975
Karamo: Unrequited love is something that we have all experienced at some point in our lives, whether you are young or you are older. You have to check in with yourself, which is a big thing we teach throughout Queer Eye: that their rejection is not about you, it is about them. And that's easier said than done.
I'd like to give physical manifestations of representations of what is great about yourself, and I think writing those things down that you can post on your mirror in the bathroom, so as you're brushing your teeth, you can say: “This is what I love about myself.” Because the rejection you felt from that person, that unrequited love, is really love that you should be showing yourself. So, if you can remind yourself of that love daily, you'll be OK.
BuzzFeed: That is another one I am going to be writing down. These questions aren't from me, by the way.
Antoni: You're really going through it, aren't you?
BuzzFeed: Yeah, I'm having a really shit month.
The Fab (Four): Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww...
Just after the interview finished, Karamo initiated a hug to check that everything was OK. And Tan, Bobby, and Antoni joined in. And it didn't matter whether they knew I was joking or being real or not, it helped. I felt a lot better.
Holy goddamn, I love this show.