Neale Whi­taker: On Queer Eye’s ap­peal

Get­ting to the heart of Queer Eye’s en­dur­ing ap­peal

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - Neale Whi­taker is Edi­torat-large of Vogue Liv­ing.

When I heard TV’s Queer Eye For The Straight Guy was be­ing re­booted on Net­flix, I ad­mit to a brief mo­ment of eye-rolling. The orig­i­nal show might have pushed the en­ve­lope back in 2003, but in these more gen­der-fluid times, do we re­ally need to per­pet­u­ate the old stereo­type of gay guys be­ing ex­clu­sive ar­biters of taste, style and cool?

Hell, yes. Af­ter in­hal­ing sea­son one of the new ver­sion, called sim­ply Queer Eye, at a sin­gle sit­ting, I am now hooked on sea­son two. I love these guys. Hope­fully I’ll never need their ser­vices, but they are wel­come in my lounge room any time.

While they were in Aus­tralia ear­lier this month for a whis­tle-stop pro­mo­tional tour, I caught up with the Fab Five – Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown and An­toni Porowski – in Syd­ney and grabbed a few mo­ments on the couch with Berk, the show’s in­te­rior de­sign ex­pert. I asked him why the ti­tle of the re­boot se­ries was ab­bre­vi­ated. What hap­pened to the Straight Guy?

“The orig­i­nal se­ries was right for the time, but straight guys, for the most part, have got their crap to­gether now,” Berk told me. “We wanted to do things in a dif­fer­ent way and not shy away from so­cial is­sues – or from talk­ing about our­selves.”

Berk is at pains to point out that true trans­for­ma­tion is “from the in­side out, rather than the out­side in”. State of mind is more im­por­tant than well-cut jeans or a fridge full of kim­chi. He de­nies it, but I be­lieve Berk has the tough­est job of all, mak­ing over an entire home in just five days. Where does he start?

“I find one thing that I know the guy will con­nect with to make it feel like home and not a set on TV.” As for his one fun­da­men­tal to live by: “Keep your place tidy. When you wake up in a tidy, un­clut­tered space, you start your day happy.”

I asked him what he loved most about be­ing part of Queer Eye. “I love be­ing able to help peo­ple. Go­ing into the show, I wasn’t sure if the abil­ity to help was real, but we go in there and we make a dif­fer­ence to these guys’ lives.” Of course it’s an an­swer other writ­ers in other cities have heard be­fore me, but that’s fine. My in­stinct tells me Berk be­lieves it.And I’m more than happy to buy it.

“Hope­fully I’ll never need their ser­vices, but they are wel­come to visit any time”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.