KARAMO’S GUIDE TO BOOSTING YOUR HAPPINESS QUOTA
Queer Eye’s handsome culture guru overhauled his own life long before he set his sights on the lives of strangers. He shows us how
KARAMO BROWN loves being Queer Eye’s resident ‘culture’ guy, but he’s very aware most people don’t actually know what that means. After two seasons of the Netflix reboot, fans are officially besotted with the 37yearold thanks to his immaculate style, ridiculous good looks and lifechanging wisdom. They just aren’t sure exactly what his job is.
‘I’m a trained psychotherapist and a social worker,’ Karamo tells Cosmo. ‘A lot of people don’t know that because my culture title is misleading – they don’t really know my job on the show is to fix the inside – the heart and the mind.’
It’s true that Karamo’s onscreen moments with the show’s makeover subjects are often the most powerful, cathartic and, occasionally, emotional to watch.
‘Most of the crying comes with me,’ he says, laughing.
‘I’m the one who has to figure out what the emotional issues are and fix them within four days!’
Karamo is particularly good at this because he’s had his own emotional issues to fix in the past, something he’s incredibly open about. The reality star attempted suicide in 2006, and credits two of his best friends with saving his life by finding him and calling an ambulance.
‘I think what got me through was just seeing all the people around me supporting me and loving me,’ he recalls.
Thankfully, these days, by his own admission, he’s operating at peak capacity in the happiness department.
‘Every single minute of every day it goes between extreme happiness or happy crying because none of us could imagine that every single thing we’ve
ever wanted in life would be happening,’ Karamo says.
Given he’s helped so many men turn their lives around on the show, we asked Karamo if he’d mind sharing some of the things he’s learnt in his own pursuit of happiness.
LANGUAGE IS EVERYTHING
‘The biggest thing I help people realise on the show is there’s a lot of power in language,’ Karamo explains.
‘When we get to dark spaces in our own heads we think, “No one could understand, I’m alone”. These negative narratives play over and over in our heads.’
Karamo says shifting his own internal monologue took practise, but now he does it with ease.
‘The language you say to other people and the language you say to yourself can change everything. This is something I practise consistently.’
Another harmful activity is criticising yourself before others can do it, he says.
‘I have a lot of friends I try to work with who will beat people to the punch of saying something negative about them,’ he says.
‘When someone compliments me, I take a moment to process it and I’m grateful.’
COMPARISON KILLS CONFIDENCE
In the era of selfpromotion, it can often feel like there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
So how can you recognise your own achievements without putting people offside? Karamo has a failsafe solution.
‘Jonathan [Van Ness] and I say this all the time, “Comparison is the thief of joy”,’ he explains.
‘When you’re in the space where you can verify your own self, that means you’re proud of what you’ve done and you feel worthy, but comparison is where the ego starts to come in... and that’s where it veers into arrogance. Tearing other people down to make yourself feel better is not healthy,’ he says.
LEAN ON YOUR LOVED ONES
Karamo says while life is pretty sweet, his main source of stress is balancing a hectic work schedule with his family, which includes his two sons, his parents and his fiancé. He says it’s a particular kind of guilt most hardworking people can identify with.
‘I’m going after my dreams and my dreams are important to me, but you’re giving more time and energy to something than you used to give to your fiancé and your kids,’ he says.
‘I communicate to them that I feel guilty about this, and give them a space to say how they feel. We then come to a compromise where I still find moments to spend time with them.’
While Karamo recognises physical fitness is important, he’s more focussed on mental fitness and having a good time. One thing the busy fatheroftwo finds time to do every day is have a scantilyclad boogie session.
‘Whether morning, night or afternoon, I will strip down to my underwear and turn on my iPhone and dance for five or six minutes,’ he says.
‘It gets my heart rate going, gets endorphins pulsing, and I feel silly which is great.’
PLAN YOUR PEAKS
To manage the humdrum of the daily grind, it helps to have something to look forward to. For Karamo, that’s his wedding to ‘the love of his life’, director Ian Jordan.
‘I got engaged on May 9 this year but I’ve been planning my wedding since I was eight years old,’ he admits.
‘I’ve already booked the venue. The wedding won’t be until 2020 because we will hopefully be shooting Queer Eye for a while, but trust and believe it is going to be lavish. I can’t lie; I’m trying to rival the royals.’
Before his wedding, Karamo has another big family event on the cards: a trip to Paris for Christmas.
‘When I was a psychotherapist I was making a decent living to support my family, but not a lot. I always wanted to do something extravagant and this is the first time in my life I can afford to,’ he explains.
‘So I just bought tickets for all my family to go to Paris over the Christmas holidays. I got us a big place with 12 rooms and I’m organising a chef. Bobby [Berk, Queer Eye’s design expert] might be showing up because I invited all the guys. Bobby and I are really close. I’m so excited.’
That’s a fast track to happiness if we’ve ever heard one.
‘The language you say to yourself and others can change everything’
THE REALITY STAR CREDITS HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY WITH HELPING HIM TURN HIS LIFE AROUND
KARAMO HAS WORKED HARD ON HIS MENTAL HEALTH IN RECENT YEARS