To read more on Queer Eye, pick up the new Summer Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
After binge-watching (in many cases more than once) the first eight episodes that dropped Feb. 7, audiences were hungry for more Queer Eye. And Netflix heard viewers’ pleas, announcing there would, in fact, be a second season of the
makeover make-better show featuring Bobby Berk (interior design), Karamo Brown (culture), Tan France (fashion), Antoni Porowski (food and wine), and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming) as the series’ quintet of experts, the Fab 5.
The men cover Entertainment Weekly‘s Summer Preview issue — meaning, yes, the boys are back this summer, with eight new episodes dropping Friday, June 15, EW can reveal exclusively. Can you believe?
Filmed during the same production frame as season 1 in Georgia, little did the Fab 5 or the production team know that something special was in store — in that initial episode and well beyond.
“We spoke to something that was important and current. And it caught hold,” explains series creator David Collins, who witnessed the original incarnation become a pop culture phenomenon in 2003 on Bravo. “I don’t know if I thought it was going to happen again the same way, but I felt like we had really cast an amazing team.”
One that almost didn’t include 35-year-old Brit France, who admits he had trepidation about taking the job. “I felt a lot of pressure,” says France, a Muslim who now lives in Salt Lake City with his husband. “I hadn’t seen any people like me on TV before, and I definitely didn’t want to be the first one. I didn’t want that responsibility on my head.”
The fears eventually subsided, and, he says, “I couldn’t be more grateful.” It’s a sentiment echoed by the others, who say they almost instantly felt the positive impact of the show.
“Reality television has an undertone of negativity,” says the 37-year-old Brown, a Texas native and Real World: Philadelphia alum. “And we are only positive with each other.”
That spreads to those they meet, not to mention, the audience.
“On our social media, people were telling us in such an emotional way what it meant to them, about how literally it was changing their lives,” Berk, 36, explains. “I think that’s when I realized it was going to be big.”
A self-described “metrics person,” Van Ness turned to numbers for proof. “It came out on a Wednesday, and by that Monday, all of us had more than 100,000 followers on Instagram,” the 31-year-old says. “My best friend Emily, I remember we were sitting on the couch that next weekend, and she was like, ‘Oh my god, how does it feel? This is crazy. You guys are everywhere.’ I was like, ‘It kind of feels like the last scene of Kill Bill, when I’m just holding the picture of my baby on the bathroom floor, and I’m like laughing so hard, I’m crying, because I can’t believe how good it turned out.’ It’s like that, but we didn’t kill anyone. [Everyone laughs.] I’m bewildered by how good it is.”
Brown says it’s not uncommon for people to stop him in bars “and start crying and telling me their stories of how they didn’t feel confident and they felt suicidal…. This is impactful.”
When France started hearing from people in the Middle East who were thrilled at the sight of someone who looked like them on TV, that’s when he realized “this isn’t just a TV show; this is so much more than that for so many people.”
Porowski admits he was naïve to how it would affect him. “In New York, I would be overwhelmed by this outpouring of people coming up and thanking all of us and just getting really emotional,” the 34-year-old Montreal native explains of the genuine reactions. “I’m a very sensitive person, I take all that stuff in. But it’s hard to do it on a street when it’s somebody random who you’ve never met before…. So I would keep all of it bundled up in my heart, and I would just come home and wail-cry into my pillow because it’s… [pauses as his voices quivers and he tears up] it’s been really beautiful. It’s just so much bigger than all of us.”
Audiences — and Porowski — should prepare for more waterworks over the course of the next eight episodes, which are special for a different reason. Season 2 will break from tradition — hence why “for the Straight Guy” isn’t part of the revival’s title — and feature the show’s first female and first trans male subjects. (More on them Friday.)
Check out the video above for more from the Queer Eye cover shoot.