Instinct Magazine Exclusive with 'Queer Eye' Star Karamo Brown!
I have been crushing on Karamo Brown for several years now ever since his days on The Real World all the way back in 2005. Of course, he's damn attractive, but there is a spirit about him that just elevates his overall appeal and then some.
Although he has stayed in the lime light over the past decade with other reality shows and establishing himself as his own brand, Karamo has now truly experienced some sort of pop culture ubiquity as he landed a role as one of the members of the new Fab Five on Netflix's reboot of Queer Eye.
The reboot (which costars Bobby Berk, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski) has received universal acclaim from fans and critics alike as these five guys have easily become the water cooler chatter of the moment with hopes that a 2nd season will happen at some point later this year or in early 2019 (cuz it's that damn good).
I hung out with Karamo last week while he was doing his press roundups in New York City, where the studly and charismatic personality told me about his life changing experience while doing his first season of Queer Eye. He breaks down who his favorite (and not so favorite) subjects were, what really went down when he got pulled over by the white cop in episode 3, what went on when AJ was coming out to his stepmother on episode 4 and so much more. Take a look.
So, a lot of my friends have been binge-watching Queer Eye, and the response from them (as well as social media) has been overwhelmingly positive. Are you feeling the same amount of love on your end as well?
Yes! The feedback has been 100 percent positive for us. It’s always like, “You’re making me cry”, “You’re making me laugh”, “This is such a feel-good show” or “Oh my god, I feel better about the world”. I wasn’t expecting that, to be honest with you. I was kind of expecting for people to hate on us quite a bit, so it feels good knowing that people are loving it.
You have a point there, because prior to the show airing, there was a good assortment of “shady” comments posted on social media about the new season, but since Netflix released it, there has been little to no negativity. You guys clearly proved something with this by hitting the funny elements but the emotional ones as well.
I appreciate that, because that was really big for both Jonathan and me. When we came in, we sat down with the cast and producers and Jonathan was like “I’m bringing the funny constantly,” and the guys were a little bit intimidated of bringing out their own emotion and he was like “No, we are bringing that deep stuff.” And, everyone just picked it up and it went really, really well.
The eight episodes were really done incredibly and showcase a variety of subjects who had great storylines to them. Did you have a favorite out of all of them and why?
It’s weird because I have favorite subjects on different levels: on a worldly level, but also on a friend level. Cory, from episode 3, him and I text all the time with the boys. I love him.
Yeah, a lot of guys in the bear community have crushed on him since his episode aired.
Let’s be very real, Cory is totally straight, and it would never happen but if he was a gay man, that would be my ideal guy.
Anyone other subject that you really enjoyed?
The firehouse episode was also a ton of fun for me, because how often do you get to line up firemen and put them in wet t-shirts contests? And I’m not even into muscles (that one guy they nicknamed “Superman”), but it was their playfulness throughout that was a major turn on for me.
I noticed that sort of “playfulness” with all the subjects, most notably Tom in the first episode. I thought he was a great starting point for the series.
He was an awesome starting point because I got a lot of comments from people in the south who would say “I see myself in him, so thank you for not starting off with some super chic, 25-year-old who needs help. Thank you for letting me see me.”
I have to ask you about that redneck margarita (whiskey and Mountain Dew) that Tom made. How bad was it really?
It was fucking gross! It was the worst drink I ever tasted in my life. And he drank it day in and day out!
Can you be honest here and say if there was any subject you liked the least?
Yeah, I can tell you… in the beginning my least favorite subject was Bobby (episode 5), the church-going guy. Something that got cut out, and really threw me, is when we were driving together he told me that a year or so ago he would’ve called me the N word and the F word. For me, I believe in change for people, I truly do, but there was something for me that didn’t seem genuine about him. The audience responded well to him, but I just never fully got it.
Did his wife not seem into any of it? I got this vibe that she was not thrilled throughout the entire episode.
I wouldn’t say that she wasn’t into it, I would say she was overwhelmed. They both were. The space was small, the kids (besides the older ones) were a bit unruly, so for me I’m glad we helped them and I’m glad that he had that moment in the end because it kind of pushed me over. At the beginning, when he said that to me, its as if I met you and said to you in the first hour “A year ago I hated white guys.” Like, why would you feel the audacity to say that to someone? So, for him, I guess his intentions were in the right place when telling me that, but it made me not want to go into it the same way I went into the others.
Let’s talk about the episode where you got pulled over by the white cop (Cory, episode 3).
The police officer, the pull over, triggered the shit out of me. I had no idea. That was not staged. In the morning of each episode, we all fight over who gets to drive. Some of those towns we went into took three or four hours to get to, so if I don’t drive, I’ll be asleep in the back. We have to stay awake for the drive because we are filming throughout.
So, when I decided to drive for that episode, the producers were like “No, no” and its because they set this up and didn’t want for me to be triggered. They kept saying “Bobby, you drive!” and I was persistent on having it be me. To be honest with you, it would’ve been a fun, cute thing to get pulled over if it was someone else, but I forced myself to drive that day.
Do you think Tan would’ve had the same reaction you had?
I think that Tan would have, but not in the same way I would have. He’s from the UK, so he gets it… but in different ways. I was a little off put when you I got to Cory’s house because I was still dealing with it, but overall it didn’t make me want to participate in the episode.
For me, my personal favorite was AJ (Episode 4), as I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a slow build up on a show like this that turned into a rollercoaster drop of emotions. You came close to making him cry before he met with his stepmother, I noticed.
Oh, I did, they just didn’t air it. I’m pretty sure I made all of them cry at some point, even Tom. He wasn’t crying to the very end but eventually the flood gates opened.
Normally at the end of the episode when the subjects have their big reveal, the show still pans to the five of you. When AJ came out to his stepmother, the cameras stayed on him with no focus on what your reactions really were. You guys were watching I’m assuming, yes?
Of course. So, the way that it works is that after we leave, we go back to the loft and we change and watch what’s happening. We are basically getting the live feed, and for me… it was cathartic watching him come out and I’m happy he was able to have that incredible breakthrough.
This experience overall has been truly incredible and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for myself and all of us on this crazy journey.