Carson Kressley, the fabulous fashion savant of Bravo’s Queer Eye, has been busy following the 2007 end of the fabled makeover show. He dabbled in acting, took a memorable turn in season 13 of Dancing With the Stars, penned a childrens’ book, and brought his flirty personality and lightning-fast wit to various hosting gigs on OWN, Lifetime, and ABC shows. Hot on the heels of Queer Eye‘s tenth anniversary and a reunion with the rest of Fab Five and Bravo host Andy Cohen that airs Sunday night, EW caught up with Kressley on the phone to chat about his hardest “make-betters,” whether the Fab Five are still friends, and his top five favorite Queer Eye moments.
Though he described most of the straight guy cases on the show as “little puppy dogs,” when it came to following their grooming advice, he admitted that during the early seasons of their five-season-long run, some guys initially “put up a lot of resistance.” But who could stay mad at the Fab Five for long? “Once they realized that we genuinely wanted to help them with their situation and you know, make their lives better, or help them get the look, or get the job, or get the girl, absolutely anybody who was ever on the show finally gave in, I guess that’s not a great word, but gave in, and realized that we were genuinely interested in helping them.”
What’s next for Kressley? In addition to an upcoming “Womens’ style guide” book, he just wrapped filming on a pilot, which he described as “kind of like a makeover show.”
Though it’s been a decade, Queer Eye‘s impact on the portrayal of gays on television is still fresh for Kressley. The show’s format of showing straight men and gay men working together brought home a positive message: “We’re more the same than we are different, and that helps to change peoples’ attitudes, and that helps to erase homophobia. We didn’t realize that when it was happening. We just wanted to make a good TV show,” he said.
Longtime fans will be happy to know that Carson, Jai, Ted, Kyan, and Thom are friends in real life. “We went through a really unique experience together. None of us had done any kind of television, none of us had experience, any kind of fame,” said Kressley. “And to go through that rollercoaster ride and make the show was exciting.”
But chemistry wasn’t the only factor that kept their friendship in good order. “We will probably always be close because we shared this really amazing special four for five years together. Plus we also shared a motor home. Which will either make you best friends or enemies,” he said. “[Queer Eye] was very low budget,” he explains.
Here are Kressley’s favorite episodes:
1. “Queer Guy for the Skate Guy: John Z.”
The Fab Five (above) help pairs figure skater John Zimmerman in planning a special date night for his wife and fellow skater Silvia Fontana. “He was like an Armani model,” said Kressley. “He took his shirt off and I just about fainted.”
2. “He’s a Little Bit Country: John B”
In this episode, the guys help John Bargeman create the perfect wedding proposal, with a “tented Moroccan backyard party.” Kressley said, “It was super romantic and he looked really handsome.”
3. “My Big Fat Greek Haircut: George K”
The guys revamp a Queens resident with a bad case of mama’s boy syndrome and an unmanageable mane named George Katsigiannis. “He was super fun and adorable,” said Kressley
4. “Championship Make Better: Boston Red Sox
The Fab Five got to make over five members of the 2004 World Series champs the Boston Red Sox during their spring training, and they gave the press a sneak peek in the above conference. The lucky recipients? Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, and Doug Mirabelli. “It was one of those moments where you’re like ‘Am I really playing baseball with the Red Sox right now?’”
5. Kylie Minogue shares her “Hip Tips”
“We had Kylie Minogue on a “hip tip” because she was on our soundtrack,” said Kressley. The pop star dispensed how-to advice on distressing leather and the best furniture placement, among other domestic diva trade secrets. “She’s kid of a big deal, he said. “Especially for the gays. So that was fun to meet and work with her.” Kressley described her as “super sweet, low key, [and] just amazing.”