Fabulous fiction (and nonfiction)
If you think there’s nothing better than watching the Fab Five — Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Bobby Berk, and Karamo Brown — transform the lives of the once not-so-fabulous, think again. Their new book Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life was released this week, and now anyone can reference their expertise and give themself a makeover (or, as the Fab Five like to say, make-better).
In anticipation of the book’s publication, EW caught up with the guys by phone, during a day of filming for QE season 3, for a lightning round of Books of My Life. Bonus: At the end, they share juicy details about their own book. Can you believe??
Antoni, favorite cookbook?
Antoni: My favorite cookbook is either Julia Child’s or, to promote a more recent one, Ina Garten’s [Cook like a Pro] that just came out.
Bobby: My favorite new cookbook is Chrissy Teigen’s.
Antoni: Okay, well, also my first cookbook that I ever had that I still really love, it’s so wonderfully written, is Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat.
Jonathan: Mine too!
Karamo, what book did you insist your kids read?
Karamo: Naturally Tan.
Tan: That’s my book!
Jonathan, what literary character do you identify with most?
Jonathan: [Without missing a beat] Bridget Jones.
Bobby, you have the eye for design, obviously. What’s the most beautiful cover or illustration you’ve seen in a book?
Bobby: I’m a huge fan of anything illustrated by M.C. Escher. I just love the lines and the style.
Tan, what’s a beloved classic that you secretly hate?
Bobby: The Bible.
Tan: Oh my gosh, Lord of the Flies! I freakin’ hated it.
Jonathan: I knew you were gonna say that! Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite books ever!
Tan: I couldn’t stand it.
Jonathan, when you were growing up, what’s a book you didn’t want your mom to know you were reading?
Jonathan: Probably this gay erotic thing that I found at a Barnes & Noble called, like, Friction 5 or something. I had it for like 10 years, like gorgeous, softcore, very HBO. It was very cute.
Bobby, what book do you want to be made into a movie that hasn’t been?
Bobby: Oh, We Are Legion, by Dennis E. Taylor, for sure.
Antoni: Wait, can you ask me that question?
Tan: I’ve got that answer too!
Antoni: Okay, I’m not sure if it’s a Netflix series, but it’s by the second gay author that I really got into. His name is Armistead Maupin, and he’s got this really wonderful book called Michael Tolliver Lives, and I think that they’re rebooting Tales of the City, I think on Netflix? Well, I’m really, really excited for Tales of the City. It’s really cool for LGBT youth to see.
Antoni, the next question was actually for you also. Last book that made you cry?
Antoni: The last book that made me cry? Actually, I’m reading it right now. It’s called Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life.
Antoni: No, no. It’s a book called Ohio, by Stephen Markley. Actually, no! The last book that made me cry was Dear Evan Hansen.
Bobby: Oh, yeah.
Antoni: It’s just been adapted from the hit Broadway play into a full novel, and it really explores the backstory of all the characters. I think it’s a really important book to be read in school, but also for youth because it deals with bullying and suicide and topics that parents are probably really uncomfortable to discuss with their children, but I think it’s really important for kids and adults alike to read. It just sort of continues the conversation on mental health.
Karamo, what’s the best book that someone in the Fab Five has recommended to you?
Antoni: I’m gonna answer this for Karamo! You can read it in his voice, but I think he’ll really agree with me: The Picture of Dorian Gray.… I recommended it to Karamo.
Karamo: Mm hmm.
Bobby, what’s a book that you’ve read more than five times?
Bobby: Oh my God, Jurassic Park. I literally finished the last word, then flipped to the front page and started again.
Tan: Michael Crichton!
Jonathan: Have you read [State of] Fear?
Antoni: Fear is really good.
Bobby: Love. Micheal Crichton and John Grisham were my two favorite writers growing up. I love sci-fi.
Finally, your book: Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life. The photo shoots in it are so fun: Was there any one really funny photo shoot moment that happened?
Tan: Yes! I’ve got one that happened and I just thought, “How the heck did that happen? How did that end up in there?” There’s one picture of me with a hoodie on, and it looks like I’m Angelina Jolie when she went to visit Pakistan.
Antoni: You looked exactly like Angelina Jolie.
Tan: Yeah, if you see the book, it’s very much an Angelina Jolie on the cover of TIME magazine moment.
Jonathan: There’s also one iconic, viral moment in the book of all of us. If you use your gorgeous eyes to look, you’ll know what it is. We’re all in the same outfit, because if you remember when we were all in that gorgeous one video, remember?
Bobby: Oh yeah!
Jonathan: So you can tell what day that was if you really want to be a Queer Eye superfan, but I’m not going to give it away.
Antoni: Wasn’t it that…
Jonathan: Don’t say it, girl, you’re gonna ruin it!
Antoni: Well, I think my favorite was, it was an early Sunday morning, and Jonathan and I were in our natural habitat, minding our own business, taking a bath together with lots of bubbles. And, you know, a photographer just happened to be there to document it!
Tan: Yeah, we love candids.
You have your bio sections and your make-better sections. Did you collectively agree that one was more fun to write than the other?
Jonathan: Rude question! Why would you make us pick our favorite child like that! There’s just not really competition in our book. It’s not our brand. So we love both, and they’re both doing great.
Antoni: I like the bio because I got to talk about myself!
Jonathan: He’s kidding! He’s not actually that rude.