Gay Lords

The stars of ”Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” are one of our Entertainers of the Year

For Queer Eye grooming guru Kyan Douglas, the year’s most surreal moment took place at 1 a.m. in Nicole Kidman’s apartment. ”The party was over and we were chatting,” he recalls. ”My friend said, ‘Kyan’s on the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.’ And she goes, ‘Oh my God, you’re huge!’ I was like, Did Nicole Kidman just say that I was huge?”

Sitting a few feet away, lightning-witted fashion plate Carson Kressley pipes up: ”She meant your ass.”

Yes, 2003’s most unlikely celebrities are huge, and they got that way without singing, acting, or videotaping themselves making whoopee. Rather, Queer Eye’s Fab 5 busted into the zeitgeist by beautifying wayward heterosexuals with a perfect mix of sass and sweetness. And after countless airings on Bravo and NBC, they have millions of new admirers. ”At the Emmys, Sarah Jessica Parker came up to us as a fan,” marvels culture adviser Jai Rodriguez. Kressley, meanwhile, still can’t believe he took a private jet to a political dinner in Washington, D.C.: ”Al Gore is giving this amazing speech, and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I buy underwear for a living. How did I get here?”’

Via the Personality Parkway, that’s how. Kressley, 34, and interior designer Thom Filicia, 34, contribute the one-liners; Douglas, 33, and Rodriguez, 26, provide the earnestness; and foodie Ted Allen, 38, adds a dash of dorky charm. Despite nabbing book deals, shout-outs on several sitcoms, and substantial raises, the Fab 5 insist the focus is always their style-challenged subject. ”It’s not about helping ourselves,” Filicia says. ”Our goal is to help him.”

Even though there are 42 episodes to come, the guys recognize that by next Christmas they could be as popular as a hairy back. But hey, there are always spin-offs. ”If you asked us to make over a puppy, we’d be willing to give it a shot,” says Allen. Adds Kressley, ”We are working on a special: Queer Eye for the Transgendered East German Guy.”