The Fab Five from ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ talked to MSNBC anchor Bill Press about his fashion, as well those of his colleagues. Also, what do they think of President Bush’s look? Watch the video.
“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” is the breakout hit TV show of the summer, and it’s already having an impact on American culture. They call themselves the “Fab Five.” Thom Filicia, who is known as the design doctor. Ted Allen, the food and wine connoisseur. Jai Rodriquez, the culture vulture, Kyan Douglas, the grooming guru, and Carson Kressley, the fashion savant who tells us about the couture du jour, if I have that right.
BILL PRESS, HOST: Carson, I want to start with you and I want a full confession now. Last time I talked about your show I said it would bomb big-time. I admit I was wrong, but honestly, did you think this show was ever going to be such a huge success?
CARSON KRESSLEY, FASHION SAVANT: Well, you’re no Dionne Warwick, then are you?
PRESS: Did you think it was going to be such a success?
KRESSLEY: You know, we really believed in the show from the start, and we thought we had a great product, but we never, even if we were Dionne Warwick, we never could have predicted just such great success and super support from Bravo and NBC and really the American public because everybody is watching it. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback, and we’re just really grateful. It’s exciting that it seems like the time is right and people are really enjoying it for what it is.
PRESS: Hey, Thom, I’ve got to ask you. The premise of the show is that five gay guys get these straight guys and teach them how to dress and shape up their apartment, and cook and all this stuff. It seems to me perpetuates a stereotype that all straight guys are nerds who don’t know how to pick a shirt and tie. I mean is that fair to us straight guys?
THOM FILICIA, DESIGN DOCTOR: Well, this is not about all straight guys. It’s about the straight guys that actually come to us as sort of an SOS call or 911, and it’s usually from their girlfriends or their wives that get in touch with us and say, “please, can you help, you know, can you help my husband or my boyfriend” so they’re coming to us. They’re really excited about change, and they’re real excited about all of our areas of expertise, and we’re just thrilled to work with them. And we have fun, and we’re giving them knowledge, and sort of giving them the skills that they need to move forward in just a more sophisticated and more elegant way. We do not discriminate.
PRESS: OK, Kyan, I wonder is where you find these guys. I have to tell you, I don’t know any straight guys who are as sloppy, who live like such pigs as the guys that I’ve seen on your show.
CARSON KRESSLEY: Are you sure?
PRESS: No. I’m not sure. I admit, I’m not sure. I haven’t been through all their, you know, closets and clothes like you do, but, I mean, do these guys volunteer like “American Idol”?
KYAN DOUGLAS, GROOMING GURU: Thom sort of touched on it. Most of the time it’s a girlfriend or a wife or a sister or a mom who gives a shout out and says, “Help, we need help! We love our straight guy, but he is a little tragic.” And so, they usually know it, and they’re usually very willing to,submit to us for a little while.
PRESS: They seem to be having a good time. So, Ted, let me ask you. I mean I talked about the stereotype of straight guys. How about the stereotype of gay guys? If you watch the show, you might come away with the impression that all gay guys are either florists or hairstylists or interior designers.
TED ALLEN, food and wine connoisseur: We don’t have a florist.
FILICIA: I do flowers as well.
PRESS: Well, so, do your gay friends give you any grief about that stereotype, Ted?
ALLEN: You know, I actually thought that the gay community was aware that if that criticism was going to come, I thought that it would come from the gay community. But, I have to point out that these are not fictional characters. This is who we actually are. We’re five guys who happen to have these areas of study that we’ve worked on in our lives, and I guess I would say that there are good stereotypes and bad gay stereotypes, and if you want to accuse us of being really well-drecssed and have fantastic hairstyles and that we can whip up a mean risotto at a moment’s notice, that’s a stereotype I think I can live with.
KRESSLEY: Sign me up.
PRESS: Do you think this would work with straight women?
PRESS: How about you Jai?
JAI RODRIQUEZ, Culture vulture: I was going to say I didn’t get a personal question.
PRESS: All right, Jai, then I’ll just rewrap that a little bit and say “The New York Times” this weekend, a rave review about your show. They talked about the idea that maybe the next phase of this would be five lesbians who go out and remake straight women. What do you think? Would it work?
RODRIQUEZ: Well, they’d have an amazing deck, and their car would never have problems running. I mean, I don’t know. I think that this is the show as it is right now. I think gay men sometimes pay close attention to the details, and straight men generally let them fall to the side and say, “Oh, it’s good enough.”
And certainly, most of our friends are straight women, and we have straight guy friends who need some help and they need to refocus and make sure that they are. Pull up to the bar so they can be with these amazing women. I think that our show really helps bridge the gap between straight and gay. You know we’ve developed very good friendships with these men, and it’s very funny to see how cold they are at first. They start out really nervous, and then by the end of the process they’re really warmed up. They’re really sad to see us go because they haven’t had a chance to open up to men in this kind of way ever. You know and suddenly you’re talking about personal stuff of life, their history. So, it’s cool.
PERFECT TIMING IN ACCEPTANCE OF GAYS?
PRESS: I want to talk to you about the timing. I mean it’s sort of like surfing, you catch the wave at the right time. First, you got the first openly gay bishop. Supreme Court knocks down the Texas anti-sodomy laws. Canada says OK for gay marriage, and along comes “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. I mean, the timing could not be better for you.
KRESSLEY: Yes, we’re very connected.
FILICIA: We’re very strategic.
ALLEN: I’m really glad you brought that up, because I just want to say this is such an exciting time to have this happen. It’s almost as if it was meant to be. You also left out the fact that Wal-Mart just added sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination policy. I mean, Wal-Mart, a very conservative company, and the biggest retailer in the country. It just kind of feels like we’re, you know, a tiny little part of a changing culture.
COMING SOON ON PRIMETIME?
PRESS: NBC has already put you on primetime, they will this week, after “Will & Grace” for the second time.
PRESS: Do you guys see on NBC network a primetime show in the near future?
FILICIA: You never know.
KRESSLEY: We’d love it.
PRESS: You know what, it may depend on how well you do with your remake of Jay Leno. I know that’s your first NBC project.
DOUGLAS: We love Jay, though. Jay’s pretty good going into it, like we didn’t want to change him. The show has worked so well for so many years. It’s a great show. He’s great. What we want to do is give him a different point of view.
MAKING OVER THE MSNBC ANCHORS
PRESS: Forget about Jay Leno. Look, guys, I need some help. OK, maybe I need some help...
ALLEN: I’m a regular viewer of-I’m a regular viewer of BUCHANAN & PRESS, and frankly, Mr. Press, I don’t think you need nearly as much help as your co-host.
PRESS: I mean, today I wore this lavender shirt, you know, nice pinstripe suit and a purple print tie. I mean, you know, is this a good look for me? Do you think I should color the hair? Get rid of the glasses?
KRESSLEY: I think that lavender sounds absolutely smashing. And, finally, you the other guys on your show looks like they all go shopping with Bob Dole.
So, it’s fun that you’re like stepping out with the lavender. Maybe you could update your frames a little bit. Maybe a little Peter Billingsley for my taste.
FILICIA: But, Bill, let me just say I love your hair. It’s a gorgeous color...
KRESSLEY: Yes, silver.
PRESS: Well, not everybody feels that way. “The Washington Post” today, if we have that quote from Lisa de Moraes. She said in this morning’s “Washington Post” about me guys, “Ironically...SpongeBill SquarePants and Pitchfork Pat already have spent a lot of time thinking and talking about “Queer Eye.” I mean, SpongeBill SquarePants Do you think that...
FILICIA: She sounds like a lot of fun.
ALLEN: You know what? That doesn’t sound very complimentary, but you know what? Those folks over at “The Washington Post,” they’ve got faces made for print. You’re good looking enough to be on TV. I think they got nothing on you.
PRESS: I want to move on to some of our colleagues here at MSNBC.
Chris Matthews of “Hardball,” who’s got a good look...
KRESSLEY: Again, looks like Bob Dole is his stylist. What is with this?
DOUGLAS: It’s kind of a good look, though. It sort of works for him.
His hair is pretty good... He looks like a little kid. But it can get a little floppy at times when it gets a little too long, so he needs to stay on top of the haircuts.
PRESS: All right. I’ll tell Chris that.
PRESS: Now, here’s a guy that really, really needs some help, I have to tell you. A friend of mine, but Joe Scarborough, I mean Joe Scarborough dresses right out of the ’50’s, I think.
FILICIA: He looks like a J.C. Penney’s model on the photograph that we have...
ALLEN: Definitely take a page from your playbook and try to do something with a little bit more color...
FILICIA: I think Kyan could help him with his hair.
PRESS: I was going to say, how about the hair, Joe’s hair?
FILICIA: The helmet. It looks more like a helmet from here...
DOUGLAS: But I have to say in his defense, it looks like the texture is a little bit hard to deal with. I’m not sure that he has a lot of options. He’s probably better off keeping it short and tight.
KRESSLEY: Maybe cornrows.
FILICIA: He’s a handsome man, though...
WHAT ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA CANDIDATES?
PRESS: You were out there in California. The entire country was watching California for this wild California circus called the California recall. Arnold is the frontrunner. Is this a guy that needs any help at all, or does he have it all? I mean he’s a pretty cool dresser, Arnold? What do you think?
DOUGLAS: He needs to go to the gym, don’t you think?
KRESSLEY: Yes, yes...
ALLEN: He’s getting a little getting kind of soft, Arnold.
FILICIA: He’s really scrawny.
KRESSLEY: Like to see a little bit more of that, you know, upper chest region.
FILICIA: I think he could work on his pronunciation a little bit.
KRESSLEY: Yes. Diction.
KRESSLEY: Try it.
PRESS: Do you like the open collar look with Arnold rather than a tie? Do you think, you know, like gold chains? Does that do it, the movie star look?
KRESSLEY: Not-no, not the gold chains.
ALLEN: We’re a little bit more concerned about Gary Coleman, though actually...
KRESSLEY: We think he needs a platform to stand on. I mean really...
FILICIA: Or at least an apple box...
AND PRESIDENT bush?
PRESS: All right, now this final question here. I know this isn’t your territory, but, you know, Washington— if there’s anywhere fashion does not exist it’s Washington D.C. Let’s start at the very top— President Bush, does he need any help, and what would you do?
KRESSLEY: Yes. How long is this show? George Bush. He’s a pretty good-looking guy, but I think he...
KRESSLEY: ... could take some more fashion risks, too and have some more fun with it. He’s got a captive audience. He needs to look a little bit more spruced up.
DOUGLAS: I want to talk to him about his skin care regime. He’s looking a little worse for wear lately. I suspect he might be washing his face with bar soap or something harsh like that.
RODRIGUEZ: I just got a funny visual. Could you imagine if we took him to get some Botox?
PRESS: We’ll end it on that. The “Fab Five,” we thank you very much.