Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski says he’s not comfortable with referring to himself as gay.
While being interviewed by GQ Magazine, Porowski explained that he doesn’t know which sexual orientation label is right for him, and he “kind of likes not knowing.” But if he does have to pick a label or two, he’d first choose “fluid” or “queer.”
“I feel like if I do refer to myself as gay, which would make it easier for people to understand sometimes, I feel like it dishonors women that I’ve been in love with,” said the celebrity cook.
Porowski then opened up about his mental health. Porowski shared that he’s been going to therapy since he was 17, and has tried to manage his anxiety for years now.
“I’m very afraid in life, of everything, the small things, the big things,” he explains. “But the one thing that I’ve always prided myself on is the fact that I really get off on fear.”
Merging that anxiety into his disconnect with the gay label and identity, Porowski shared that he initially worried about joining Queer Eye.
“Part of me didn’t want to go [on the show],” he stated. “I was thinking, ‘I’m not gay enough. I’m not enough of a chef. I’m not all of these things.’”
He eventually decided to join the show and is thankful for that decision. Now, he has an international platform to talk about issues such as sexual identity labels and mental health.
“Any opportunity to advocate for mental health awareness is incredibly important because it’s something that I’ve struggled with and I continue to struggle with, but I’m figuring it out,” he said.
Though, one unforeseen result of his near three years on Queer Eye is that Porowski has found himself being seen as a sex symbol.
“I did not think that I was going to be objectified as a 34-year-old male, that usually happens for guys in their twenties,” he joked.
But, Porowski has decided to play with this sudden attention that he’s gotten. Though, he feels like he has to often remind people that he isn’t some dizzy socialite focused on just his body. Porowski is an intellectual at heart.
“I used to do this thing where any opportunity I’d remind somebody that I have an educational background,” he says. “I went to university, I’m not an idiot, I read a ton of books. I’ve kind of calmed down on that a little because I think with physical appearance it’s always assumed that you’re a dumb ass.”
It seems that in his time on Queer Eye, Antoni Porowski has both learned to not worry about self-labeling himself while also embracing some of the labels placed upon him. For him, it’s about finding a happy medium, and we can all hope to learn that lesson.