On the Fab Five’s makeover show, Mahnken was “stuck in the ’70s” with his style, according to then-girlfriend, now-wife Shannan Eller on the show. Now, with Stranger Things, he’s stuck in the ’80s. Fans re-binging the drama will notice Mahnken appearing in the premiere episode as one of the newspaper men staring at Nancy when she tries to pitch an idea.
As it turns out, that wasn’t his only cameo.
Mahnken teased on his personal Instagram that he has nine appearances in season 3, including one where he and Eller play a couple out to dinner.
“Who caught Shannan from @QueerEye looking lovingly at @DavidKHarbour on our date in the second episode of @Stranger_Things?” Mahnken tweeted.
On Queer Eye, Mahnken was described as a Walmart employee from Dahlonega, Georgia with a passion for film. That passion has led to a pretty extensive filmography of background roles in movies. It makes sense: Georgia has an abundance of film productions. Notably, Mahnken appeared on episodes of The Walking Dead as one of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) Saviors, and he played a guard at the prison in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky during the best Winds of Winter joke ever put to film (so far).
As for Stranger Things, Mahnken already appeared in season 2 as an arcade worker. According to him, it’s the same character he plays in season 3.
“In season 2, Paul lived in his mom’s basement with his tween son. Season 3, Paul gets a job at the Hawkins Post as a reporter,” he wrote on Instagram. “He also starts dating multiple women. Looks like Paul is moving on up!!”
What’s next for Mahnken? According to his IMDb page, a background role in the remake of Jacob’s Ladder.