Fifteen years after the original Queer Eye premiered on Bravo, two of its Fab 5 — Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia — are back on the network, combining their style and design expertise for Get a Room, a home design show featuring two different clients — each with very different budgets.
What isn’t different is the undeniable chemistry and playful, sarcastic, honest rapport between these two, who were friends even before they became part of the Fab 5. While they want to do a great job for their design clients and take those matters seriously, they also want to have fun in the process — and there’s no shortage of that. In the exclusive clip above, Kressley has second thoughts about the fabric he bought for drapes — watch to see Filicia’s reaction.
Kressley tells EW all about how this show came together, what it was like their first day together — again — on set, and what sets their show apart from all the other design shows out there. Plus, he takes a trip down memory lane, back to 2003 and the original Fab 5’s first EW cover photo shoot.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this even happen? Were you and Thom trying to find something to do together or was it presented to you?
CARSON KRESSLEY: It was kind of serendipitous. I love everything to do with style and of course I love fashion, and kind of adjacent to that is interior design. I’ve always been a fan of Thom’s and I loved being kind of voyeuristic when we were making Queer Eye – we did a Freaky Friday episode where we got to switch roles and I was like, I totally wanna be the interior designer. So I’ve always kind of, like I say in the show open, I got bit by the design bug, and I was like, “Hmmm, who could actually teach me to do this?” And the obvious choice was Thom.
And I had kinda sorta already been doing this already; he helped me do my apartment — I did my place in Pennsylvania — so we had kind of collaborated before … what about this table, etcetera. I said, let’s do this a little more officially, I’d really love to learn the trade, and I started going to trade shows with Thom. Somebody at the same time, and I think it was serendipitous, because Queer Eye was being rebooted, they were like, You should do this as a show and we were like, “We’d love to,” and it just kind of authentically arose from that. Bravo was interested and here we are.
Bravo — back on the network where you started with Queer Eye in 2003.
I know! It feels like coming home again. I’m waiting for them to send me a cake or something.
Who came up with the title?
We had dinner with the Bravo executives after we made the pilot episode and I am kind of a wordsmith and I came up with tons of names, some of which I think were too racy even for Bravo. We had toyed around with One Night Stand, Sectional in the City, By Filicia… and Carson, and one of the ones we bandied about was Get a Room. They liked it, but I think it was kind of a collaborative moment, just me coming up with names off the top of my head.
It’s been more than 10 years since Queer Eye ended, so what was that first day like filming a series again with Thom?
It was a little weird maybe for the first hour when we were like, Oh my god, we’re doing this again! We both felt we so lucky and it was such serendipity to do it the first time and then to have a second shot at it seems like a greater gift. Then we were just back to our old hijinks. It helps that we have been friends — we were friends before Queer Eye, we were friends during Queer Eye, we have remained close after the show ended. The only difference is that now there were cameras rolling again. And we were wearing eyebrow pencil.
RELATED VIDEO: Get a Room with Carson & Thom is focusing on getting personal and showing the process
You mentioned you’ve done design work in your own home, but how nervous were you about doing this for someone else? Because we do see you start off very confident in your abilities, but doubt creeps in at times.
That’s very real. I tend to be very confident with matters of style and if I’m dressing someone I know almost 99.8 percent of the time it’s going to work and look amazing. But interiors, while they are similar, there’s a lot more science – colors look different on a ceiling versus a wall and sometimes a fabric looks different when you’re hanging it or in different environments – so there were a lot of unknowns that I was discovering on the fly, and I thought, “Wow, I’m going to get fired in the first episode.”
Do you have a newfound appreciation for how difficult Thom’s job is?
Yeah! It is the most difficult on any kind of makeover show. Doing makeovers on people, you take them to a store, you take them to the fitting room, you try some looks on, you tweak, you add accessories. That comes pretty easy to me and I have so much experience doing that, but working in three dimensions and with a client or several clients at once or with a big budget which can sometimes be in the six-figures, I did have a lot to learn and it was daunting several times. I do have a newfound respect for Thom. Every time we would do a makeover on Queer Eye he would be exhausted and the rest of us were like, “This was really fun!” And he’s like, “Yes, it’s fun, but I haven’t slept for four days.” So I totally get it now.
There has been a resurgence in home design shows in recent years — what do you think the two of you bring to the genre that doesn’t currently exist?
I’m a lover of any kind of real estate or design show and I binge watch all of them on every different. I think there are a couple things that make our show different: First and foremost, it’s kind of about the journey with me and Thom and having a great time while we’re working on different projects. We want to really impress upon people that design should be fun. Yes, there are moments when it’s stressful, but overall it should be a joyful, creative, celebratory process. We don’t want to make this stuffy or snobby in any way. That being said, I think we are showing a high-end design that maybe isn’t out there that much; in every episode we’re doing major spaces with large budgets in really over-the-top homes, and then at the same time we’re doing a little bit more approachable spaces with much smaller budgets, so we’re giving people, hopefully, a really aspirational dream home and then also spaces that are really relatable and information they can implement in their own homes, and live better and more stylishly. I think it’s a great mix that isn’t really out there right now.
Chip and Joanna Gaines have stopped making new episodes of Fixer Upper — are you the new Chip and Jo?
Oh, gosh, not until I have a baby!
Or five. And I own a silo.
Ted Allen recently shared a Throwback Thursday of your guys’ EW Queer Eye cover from 2003. Do you have memories of that day, shooting that cover?
Yes, I definitely remember that cover – it’s hanging up in my all-pink bathroom in New York. Every time we had a photo shoot like that, I would style the guys, and I remember picking pink and white and black – I think I did a pretty good job, I think. Everybody looked great. I had some very wide-legged, white jeans and flip-flops on, which I’m regretting, but at the time it seemed reasonable. Those days were just insane though because it was 2003 and the show was really on fire and we had the lucky circumstance to do a bunch of different covers, but that was just one of the best ones. We got to fly to L.A. for it, and it was early on – I think it was called TV’s Gay Summer Heat Wave or something, and we were just excited – I think we had never been on the cover of a magazine before, so that seemed pretty great. I was just super excited to be styling the cover of a magazine, let alone be featured on it. Those were some really fun times. But I think we all still look pretty halfway decent!
Get a Room with Carson & Thom premieres Friday, Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.