‘Queer Eye’: How to Get Chosen to Go on the Show

With the debut of season three of Netflix’s Queer Eye, the success of the show has proven to be more than just a fluke. Each episode of the series has touched and captivated audiences as the Fab Five changes lives.

The show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy originally aired on Bravo from 2003 to 2007 before being revived as Queer Eye on Netflix in 2018. The show follows the Fab Five, Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, and Karamo Brown as they help unsuspecting people change multiple aspects of their lives.

In each episode, the audience gets to fall in love with not only the cast but also the person who is being helped. It’s hard not to get emotional as you watch these people go through such a major transformation both externally and internally.

But how do the subjects get on the show?

How to get on ‘Queer Eye’

Originally, the show was set in Atlanta, Ga so you had to be in Atlanta or one of the surrounding areas to be featured on the show. The third season moved to Kansas City, Missouri.

To find subjects for makeovers, the casting team looks around for people who look like they need a transformation. They typically frequent car shows, carnivals, Waffle Houses, and more. The goal is to either find a subject or a local or community leader who can nominate someone to go on the show.

“We did a twofold approach,” casting expert Gretchen Palek told Vanity Fair of the process. “We had casting people on the ground looking, scouting within the circumference of where we would be shooting. Then we also had people in the office in New York working the phones, and also sort of scouring social. One of the things we’re really proud of is we’re really proactive. We definitely accept applications and nominations, but we also know that sometimes the best stories may not submit themselves.”

But that is only the beginning. Once they have a potential candidate, they have to begin the process of determining if that person’s story will shine and if their space can even be helped.

“We will have people do home tours on their cell phones,” casting director Danielle Gervais told the outlet. “We’ll say to them, ‘Take us around your house, show us some of the problematic areas within your home. Show us your refrigerator, open up your cabinets. Show us your closet. And that’s when we know, ‘O.K., they could use us.'”

The transformations on the show take place over a four-day time frame, which can be tight for subjects with homes that need a lot of work.

“There have been times where we may have thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I just don’t know [if we can pull this off].’ And then we’ll share it with our field team, and the interior-design team that is helping Bobby, and they don’t flinch. They’re like, ‘We can do it.'”

And even though you get a free home and beauty makeover, some people are still nervous to sign on to be featured.

“In seasons 1 and 2, we had people who were reluctant,” Gervais told the outlet. “They may not have known the show really and [we didn’t have episodes to show them]. Now when we’re casting, though, we can send a tape of the first season. And people who are unsure, they’ll see one episode and they’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh, yes, I’m in.’”

The people who do ultimately pass up the opportunity aren’t necessarily out of the makeover running for good.

“There are people who have lost interest [in appearing on the show] because they’re not ready yet, and that is fine,” Palek said, “and we’re hoping in subsequent seasons maybe they will be. But we are very, very respectful of the vulnerability of our heroes, and never pressing them to go in a direction they’re not quite comfortable with or not ready to share yet.”

But for the people who do choose to go through the process, a whole new life awaits them on the other side.

Read more: ‘Queer Eye’: Did the Fab Five Know Each Other Before the Netflix Show?

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