“Austin is a very different and very special place,” divulges “Queer Eye” host Bobby Berk as he reflects on their Season 6 filming location. Berk and fellow hosts Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness admit that the open spaces, amazing food and friendly locals of this Texas city provided the right ingredients for one of their most successful seasons to date. The entire “Fab 5” (along with Tan France and Karamo Brown) are nominated for a third consecutive Emmy Award for Best Reality Host. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Van Ness believes that the cultural shift following the global pandemic helped set the tone for a fruitful experience. “People had an unprecedented amount of alone time,” he reminds us, “Our heroes were especially vulnerable. Especially courageous… Everyone was so primed to connect because we had all been so shut off from each other, it really did make for such a special season.”
One of the best examples of the vulnerability and personal connection that made the Austin season sing can be witnessed in the Fab 5’s mentoring of Angel Flores in the episode “Angel Gets her Wings.” “I think all of us have a very special bond with Angel,” explains Van Ness. Angel is a trans woman who shares a deeply personal journey of self discovery and self love during her time with the Fab 5. “It was very cathartic for me b/c she was at an age that for myself, personally, I went through a lot of my biggest trauma,” reveals Van Ness. “So I got to say a lot of the things to her that I wish I could have said to myself when I was making self destructive choices.” He continues to be proud of Angel for curating a beautiful life for herself against the odds. “That’s the paradigm of trans joy that I want to see and be a part of and celebrate more often,” declares Van Ness.
As much as these five hosts help the heroes of each episode, they are quick to admit that the process also leads to a healthy examination of their own journeys. “I can’t not be introspective and not look at my own life,” notes Porowski. He believes that the process of making this series has aided him in embracing his Polish heritage after years of shame. Berk concurs, disclosing that “going into the show I didn’t always love myself.” As he doles out advice to the heroes of each episode, Berk has learned to make sure he is applying that same guidance to his own life.
For Van Ness, the greatest lessons on “Queer Eye” can be boiled down to understanding the importance of community. “These ppl have been so formative to all of us in different ways… we are all each other’s teachers.” The host actually moved to Austin after filming and has enlisted Angel as his personal trainer. Each host is quick to rattle off the names of subjects whom they have kept in contact with over the years. It’s a level of closeness that would seem rare for most reality series, but for the Fab 5 it’s essential. As Van Ness concludes: “What I think is so important to the success of our show is the authenticity of those relationships.”
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