Interview with Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, and Tan France on Their Dream Makeover Destinations, Drag Queen Names, and More!

Queer Eye

Reality TV
Netflix
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The Emmy Award-winning show Queer Eye is now streaming its third season on Netflix and this time, the fearless Fab Five are on Kansas City to bring self-love, confidence, and encouragement to a new batch of heroes.

Photo: Netflix

Just after the newest season has yet again showcased the unfailing magic of the Fab Five, we got to chat about it with the three of them: expert hairdresser Jonathan Van Ness, food and wine expert Anthony Porowski, and fashion expert Tan France answered some of the questions you’re probably most curious about. Read on to know more about their take on the biggest misconceptions on self-care, their dream makeover destinations, a trend on their field they wish to never have existed, and more!

Image: Queer Eye Instagram account

To those who are still struggling to understand gender neutrality, how would you explain it to them?

Jonathan: To me gender is, it’s not about your outside, not necessarily. Masculinity and femininity are not about your body parts, it’s about your spirit and it’s about your personality, and like the energy that makes up who you are.

Was it a conscious move that this season seems more focused on the personal lives of the heroes rather than tackling the big social issues?

AntoniNo. For me, I think the more comfortable that I’ve got doing the scene and sort of opening up to our heroes, I think what I realized from seasons one and two, the most meaningful interactions that I had were the ones where I opened up about my personal life, and so I think [it was] conscious at that respect, not by trying to avoid social issues, and I think they did come up in certain circumstances. And sometimes they make it, sometimes they don’t. But at the end of the day, it really is about the personal stories about the heroes and helping them with their own life. [So when] that comes up, I think it’s always lovely, there’s always a great opportunity, but I don’t think we go in with a mission. I can’t speak for all of us but at least for me, I don’t go in with the sub-mission of wanting to bring out certain social issues.

Where do you pull your energy from when connecting with the heroes?

Jonathan: It is like the energy that I work with people, it’s just something that I carry with me. How do you keep a positive? I don’t know. I try not to burn my candle at both ends, so that I can go up for, like the [work] in my life and the people in my life.

If each of you can get to choose any city in the world where you can do a makeover, where will you go and why?

Tan: I think that place that I would want to go most is home to Manchester, England. I just noticed that there are a lot of people that need help and it's not because of their dress sense. There are lots of people who aren’t as open-minded as I like them to be and I think they can use more exposure to just how beautiful the gay community is. So yeah, I would like to go back home. It doesn’t have to be necessary to Manchester but Northern England in general.

Jonathan:I would say I would love to go to like, anywhere like honey Manila, let's go to Palawan. Can I just go to the gorgeous beach? Like everyone’s so beautiful. Instead of doing makeovers, I just want to enjoy the beautiful beach. And Manila’s so beautiful and interesting, let’s go to Manila and say hi.

Antoni:I think I would love to go back. Well go back, I was born in Canada but my family is all Polish and I was raised filled with a lot of Polish culture. And I think what’s going on right now [is that there’s an] opposition support for LGBT education and people are saying that it’s a threat to Polish culture and it should be blocked wherever possible. It’s kind of a really scary time for a lot of Polish LGBTQ+ youth. So it would be nice to just go there and show them that we’re not going anywhere.

For Jonathan, do you have any plans to bring your tour to the Philippines?

Jonathan: Currently, I don't have plans on coming to the Philippines of the tour right now. But you never know.

Image: Queer Eye Instagram account

Whose idea was it to have Bruley the Bulldog on the show?

Antoni: Our executive producer [Jennifer Lane] was really wonderful and an animal lover. We actually had one of our producers on the show came to Kansas City with her dog and the dog was on set and I don't think [it was a] pre-planned thing but we just decided it would be really nice to have a dog with us.

What do you think is the biggest or are the biggest misconceptions about self-care?

Jonathan: I think the biggest misconception about self-care is, is that [if you’re] spending your time on self-care, you’re taking away your time from others. Like helping yourself is somehow selfish when in reality, I think that when we help ourselves we’re able to better serve and be more there for those in our life. So I actually think that self-care really helps. It really gets back to your community as much as you get back to yourself because the better we take care of ourselves the better we can take care of those around us.

Do you stay in touch with the heroes and do they get to consult you after the show?

Tan: Yes, they do. Not everyone still needs our support but those who do they reach out. It’s not really regular anymore, our lives are insanely busy. But when they do reach out we try to help them with all we can but thankfully, [after all the time that we’ve spent with them] after we leave they’re pretty much set. [And] our lovely producers are very good at staying in touch with the heroes as well.

What would you say is a challenging moment or makeover in the show?

Tan: Many. Many folks have been difficult just because there’ll be a person who [resists what I want to put them in] and I think that’s why they get stuck in a rut is because they’re so strict with what they’ll wear. And every person’s body shape is different. I inevitably find the majority of our makeovers quite difficult.

Antoni: I would say that a kind of recurring challenge was something that we showcased [clearly with Jess]. I feel like when we came in, we saw her as the strong, independent woman who has overcome such adversity, but she didn't see herself like that at all. And I think it was just a reminder that the way we view people, it's very often not the way that they introduce themselves. It’s a reminder to always just lead with kindness and positivity and to really focus in on the positive because we're there to fix a lot of things that we have expertise in. But we also have to remind them about all the amazing things they already have going on in their lives.

What is one particular trend in your expertise that you hope never existed?

Antoni: One that I have an issue with, it's not necessarily a trend, but it comes up in a lot of food from creative bakeries, when people add unnecessary amounts of food coloring, that's like artificial food coloring. That kind of frustrates me because I love just seeing food and like actually kind of recognizing the ingredients, and when you have like different colors that pop up that really shouldn't be there. The only exception to the rule is the red velvet cake because it's a part of American culture. Other than that, I would just keep it natural, whenever possible.

Jonathan: Mine will be similar like a really overly bleached hair but with those bright colors over them. Well, they could be fun especially if your hair is short, but when a client wants bright pink, blue, purple, green, orange, they’re really loud colors. You have to pre-whiten the hair with bleach so much that it kind of messes with the integrity of the hair.

Tan: Mine would be cargo shorts. I would never like them.

Image: Queer Eye Instagram account

How is it doing your first lesbian makeover?

Tan: For me, it was no different from making over anybody else. Just because it’s a lesbian doesn’t mean we treat the makeover any differently. We still want to leave this kind of support, we don’t want to say, ‘oh because you’re a lesbian you’re gonna dress more masculine than your straight counterparts.’ It cannot be the case. I would say that [this is] pretty much the same as any of our heroes. We don’t see the makeover based on their sexual preferences.

How can we also others the way the Fab Five does?

Antoni: You can’t force somebody to change, they have to be willing to do that themselves. And I think another important part is not underestimating the power of shutting up and listening. I’m just asking a question, letting it land, and then really listening to what that person has to say.

Despite each your expertise, do you also learn during the shoot with the people you interact with?

Antoni: We try to keep it pretty fluid like we definitely like to learn and pick up as we go and we try to you know, modify.

Each hero that we interact with brings us all different experiences. I think that like, they've all had taught us things about, the role that they play in their families. There are so many things that we’ve learned.

Being also fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which queens do you think are deserving to win the crown?

Jonathan: I like Yvie Oddly a lot.

Has anyone of you already come up with your own drag name?

Jonathan: Tanya, Vanessa. It’s my last name with an ‘a’ on it, so Vanessa, and obviously his first name is Tanya.

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Queer Eye season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.

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