Queer Eye season 7 dropped on Netflix in May 2023, but not everything about the show is real. The iconic Fab Five, comprised of Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), Bobby Berk (home), Tan France (fashion), Antoni Porowski (food and drink), and Karamo Brown (culture), traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, on Queer Eye season 7. They made over ten deserving heroes, but some aspects of the heartwarming show seem fake.
Queer Eye is one of the most heartfelt and honest shows on TV, with actual storylines, and a cast of lovable experts. However, while the show’s makeover “heroes” are authentic people whose real lives are shown onscreen, not everything seen on the Netflix reality show is 100% real. While many of the scenes are genuine, certain aspects of Queer Eye are curated specifically to make watchable reality television.
Bobby Berk undoubtedly has the most demanding job each week, as he often has to renovate an entire house in four days. However, he is not as involved in the process as viewers might think. Berk has a team of amazingly talented designers who handle the day-to-day operations, according to People. This gives Bobby time to focus on building a connection with the hero, without worrying about the details of the renovation.
It is hard to imagine a time before the bond between the Fab Five was formed. The Fab Five gives off the impression they have been friends for decades, and have a longtime connection. Their onscreen chemistry is one of the most compelling aspects of the show, so it may come as a surprise that the Fab Five only met during auditions. In his book, Naturally Tan, the fashion guru discussed how quickly the group became friends after meeting each other through the audition.
While the Fab Five may show their chemistry onscreen, it doesn’t mean that they always get along when the cameras are off. The Fab Five have prominent and dynamic personalities, so there is always a chance for conflict to arise between them. Karamo revealed in an interview with E! News that he and costar Antoni did not talk at all during the filming of season one. He attributes clashing personalities and a toxic third party as the leading cause of the conflict. However, there seem to have been no feuds since.
The Fab Five’s goal is to improve the heroes’ lives, and show them different ways to feel confident and take control of their lives. However, not all the heroes are as receptive as the Fab Five may like. There have been numerous reports of some heroes not liking the redesigns, and not keeping up with some of the changes made to their lives. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Karamo brought up Joe Gallois, aka “Below Average Joe,” and how he took down the website Karamo built for him.
Just like the heroes don’t always take the experts’ advice, they also don’t always like the renovations to their homes. There have been reports of some heroes undoing the remodel, selling the houses, or moving out immediately after the show is done filming. In an interview with Architectural Digest, Bobby Berk revealed that season one hero AJ sold his place the next day, “About two weeks after we filmed that episode, I texted him, “Hey, how’s the house going? Does it feel like home yet?” He responded, “It sold already.“‘
The loft is an important location for the Fab Five, where they make many design decisions, and help out the heroes during their transformations. It’s assumed that the Fab Five remained in the loft during the stay, but this is false. The Fab Five have never actually all lived together. According to San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, the loft is essentially a set where they can film all the moments between the group. The stars stay in hotels or separate houses during filming, so they can have some space.
The Fab Five always seem welcomed while filming in small towns, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. During Queer Eye season 6, the crew was in Texas, and faced resistance and backlash from locals. While filming, the locals were very vocal about their beliefs, often saying hateful things to the Fab Five. Karamo said in an interview with the People Everyday podcast that they often came across people, “who are very blatant about, ‘I don’t interact with Black folks. I don’t interact with brown folks. I don’t interact with y’all gays.‘” This caused a lot of conflict for them, and was something they didn’t initially expect.
At the beginning of every episode, the Fab Five surprise the episode’s hero. While this makes for great TV, it’s also misleading, because the heroes already know they’ve been chosen to be on the show. Many logistics go into creating a renovation TV show, so the subjects are notified to plan a shooting schedule. Additionally, Bobby Berk often had to contact the homeowners on Queer Eye to get measurements. He needs access to the home before renovation, because he doesn’t have a lot of time to get things together, according to People.
Sources: People, E! News, BuzzFeed, Architectural Digest, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, People Everyday