1. When the reboot of Queer Eye first began, the team auditioned over 300 men, then narrowed it down to 60, and THEN took those 60 in for chemistry tests to see who would work well together.
2. Karamo Brown was too late to audition for the show and was told by his agent that Netflix had closed casting because they already had 40 great candidates.
3. However, Karamo’s agent is a true hero, because he pitched him over the phone to the show’s senior vice president of casting, and then Karamo had to sell himself as a culture expert.
4. Karamo and Bobby Berk were the first to bond really well in the chemistry test from the production standpoint.
5. Tan France and Jonathan Van Ness were the next two who were cast, followed by Antoni Porowski.
6. Tan actually didn’t plan on auditioning for the show, but was sought out from his social media presence.
7. The show’s casting director, Danielle Gervais, says that there’s a huge checklist that a candidate has to meet before being featured at the center of an episode.
8. And, of course, a candidate (often referred to as the hero of an episode) has to be open to being vulnerable on TV in order to be cast.
9. Gervais also says that it’s the people who are nominated by someone else, rather than themselves, who are the best fit to be a hero on the show because they don’t see it coming.
10. The staff keeps in touch with past heroes who’ve been featured on the show and say that they’re all doing great.
11. The show’s creator, David Collins, says the reason why the reboot works so well is because the audience really gets to know who the Fab Five are as people.
12. Before the Fab Five meets a hero, they receive a dossier from production that lists information about them like age, job, hobbies, and favorite stores.
13. Tan says that viewers often think that they’re paid to take the heroes shopping at certain places, but that’s actually a misconception. He takes them to places that make sense for their lifestyle.
14. Tan seeks out stores closest to the hero’s home, and after that the production team will reach out to stores to see if they can find a way to monetize it.
15. Production was very careful not to shove product placement or luxury brands in viewers’ faces in the reboot, feeling that was inauthentic to the nature of the show.
16. During Season 1, Karamo was told to “cut back on the therapy stuff.” In fact, a lot of his work in Season 1, Episode 1 was cut out.
17. Karamo eventually fought for what he was doing and redefined his culture role with the show’s higher-ups.
18. The Five say that at least one of them will have a personal connection with the hero each episode, and that’s usually because they’ve shared a similar struggle or personal journey.
19. Out of all of the Fab Five, Jonathan says Tan is the most responsible, both with finances and doling out wisdom in general.
20. Tan almost quit before Season 1 started shooting because he was nervous and scared of the pressure that he knew would come with the show.
21. Tan followed up by saying a producer from Netflix talked him down by saying he didn’t need to be anyone but himself on the show.
22. Antoni didn’t go to culinary school. In fact, he studied psychology.
23. Antoni was the personal assistant to the food and wine expert, Ted Allen, on the original Queer Eye.
24. Antoni says that before going into an episode, he only receives a short writeup about the hero’s dietary restrictions. When he peeks into their fridge, he understands a little more about the lifestyle they lead.
25. Antoni also recalls trying to prepare three meals for a hero during the first season, but realized after watching that most of it was cut for time. So now he keeps it simple.
26. Like Tan, Antoni was also really self-conscious about how he would be portrayed when the show first started, but now he feels comfortable expressing himself.
27. Bobby says that the five didn’t have the sole intention of being political from the very beginning, but that it happened organically.
28. Bobby also says that not only does a team of people help him with the interior design aspect of a hero’s home, but the guys will also jump in and help.
29. Because the design process of a home can be time-consuming, Bobby works seven days a week.
30. An entire home makeover process takes three days. The other days are dedicated to planning the makeover.
31. If it’s a huge overhaul of a makeover, the team will work through the night.
32. Bobby also designed all of the Fab Five’s lofts.
33. Bobby has a great art director on the show who previously worked on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
34. West Elm and IKEA are Bobby’s two go-tos. He actually he knows everyone at the Atlanta IKEA by name.
35. Karamo is a licensed psychotherapist and social worker. He’s actually not a fan of the title “culture expert.”
36. Karamo told Insider that he stays in touch with the heroes he has helped, noting, “I’m giving them mini therapy sessions, and it would be irresponsible of me to open up their emotional issues and then leave them.”
37. In Season 1, Episode 8, Karamo had no idea that getting pulled over by the cop was set up. The only one out of the Fab Five who knew was Tan. However, Karamo notes, “I’m glad that that happened, because then it allowed a conversation to happen that probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been in the driver’s seat.”
38. The Queer Eye mascot, Bruley, actually belongs to Michelle Silva, a producer of the show.
39. Netflix hired an on-set wrangler to make sure the Five were behaving in-between takes in order for filming to go smoothly because they are so high energy.
40. Tan is the only one of the Five who didn’t work in TV before Queer Eye.
41. Tan says the guys are his best friends, noting that they spend a minimum of five or six days together a week.
42. At one point, there was conflict and tension between Antoni and Karamo due to a third party spreading rumors.
43. In fact, the two didn’t talk to each other off-camera while filming Season 1, but they didn’t let it interfere with their work.
44. However, all is well! Antoni and Karamo eventually addressed the conflict and became close friends.
45. The Fab Five were surprised at how much of their personal life they shared on the show, noting that it wasn’t their intention (at first) to reveal as much as they did.
46. Jennifer Lane, a producer on the show, told the guys to try and not fill gaps of silence when talking to a hero, because that’s when they tend to open up with great stuff.
47. Bobby receives about $20,000 per episode for home renovations, but the majority of that goes toward construction.
48. According to Bobby, construction is so expensive (about eight times what it would normally cost) for the show because of the short turn-around time.
49. The longest home project Bobby tackled was Westley Hamilton’s home on Season 4, which took two weeks to ensure it met ADA standards. He wanted to make sure he got it right.
50. During Season 1, Bobby only had a five-person team to help him, but that doubled in the later seasons. It also allowed him to have more screen time with the other guys.
51. When shooting the first season in Georgia, Jonathan says they filmed during the summer months. It was a challenge to make sure nobody ever looked sweaty.
52. Jonathan says that although he’s very extroverted and loud on the show, he feels like he’s an extroverted-introvert and enjoys alone time to recharge.
53. Jonathan recalled finding out about the Queer Eye audition on the internet and knew he wanted to be part of it. His audition process consisted of having a chat with casting, then a video interview, and then he was called in with about 50 other men for a final audition in Glendale, California.
54. Jonathan was doing his client’s hair when he got the call that told him he’d earned a spot as one of the Fab Five.
55. Jonathan said shooting Season 4 in Illinois was like a homecoming for him, since that’s where he’s from.
56. Jonathan is a licensed cosmetologist.
57. Tan, Karamo, Jonathan, and Antoni all say Bobby is the worst driver in the group.
58. And finally, the group stated that they’re super passionate about wanting to do some kind of collaboration with Marie Kondo.