Bobby Berk interview: ‘Queer Eye’ host
Alongside his co-hosts Karamo Brown, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk just earned his second career Emmy nomination for hosting Netflix’s “Queer Eye.” “It feels great to be recognized for a show that we not only have a lot of fun doing and that gets to help people, but that also gets recognized by the academy,” Berk, the show’s interior design expert, says gratefully about his and his co-hosts’ Emmy recognition. In our exclusive video interview (watch above), Berk delineates his and his co-hosts’ working process, shares some of his personal highlights of the show’s fifth season, and teases the upcoming sixth installment.
In the fifth season of “Queer Eye,” which was released in June 2020, the Fab Five head to Philadelphia and its outskirts to give guests emotionally charged, heartfelt makeovers. Berk, however, divulges that they had little time to actually scout and become acquainted with the city before shooting. In earlier seasons, on the other hand, he and his co-hosts had a lot of information on the upcoming location and heroes (the people they are making over), which, as Berk explains, caused them to become somewhat “lazy.” Due to the fact that they were already familiar with their heroes’ backstories and circumstances, they not only went in with pre-existing plans of how they were going to help them but also ended up engaging less with them. “So, now, we actually find out as little as possible because when you see us in the car reading that dossier for the first time, we really are finding out about them [the heroes] for the first time,” Berk underscores. He adds, “We don’t find out a lot before, we don’t prepare a lot before — and that’s on purpose, because we want you as the viewers to actually see it happening in real life.”
After the Fab Five read the dossier on the hero in the car, viewers watch them meet the hero for the first time. “I would say the first thing we avoid is anything to do with us being on a TV show,” Berk expounds, underlining that the hero is never secondary to the show. Hence, conversations, for instance, aren’t reshot but are, if necessary, fixed in post-production. Reshooting them could not only take the heroes out of the moment and remind them that they are part of a TV show, but also lead to them putting “their walls back up a little bit,” Berk elucidates, underscoring that getting said walls to come back down can be challenging. He continues by elaborating on how he makes sure to read the tea leaves when he first enters a hero’s living space. “I can walk into a home and see the tell-tale signs of depression or anxiety by the way their home looks, by the dirty laundry piled everywhere, or by the clutter,” Berk explains. He concludes, “I start using their home to give me a window into their soul and into their mind.”
The episode that was submitted to Emmy judges for consideration in the Best Reality Host category is the fifth season’s second episode, titled “Groomer Has It,” which centers on Rahanna Gray, an entrepreneur who is trying to get her stalled mobile grooming business back in gear. In the interview, Berk expands on how watching Gray “take that level playing field and have the success that she has had now” is “just such proof that if everyone is given the same equal chance, they can succeed.” Even though “Queer Eye” has taken home three consecutive Best Structured Reality Program Emmys (2018-20), the Fab Five have yet to take home their first prize for Best Reality Host.