By Kate O’Hara
©2003 Tribune Media Services Ins.
PRETTY BOYS...For many years, among men, gay guys have ruled the worlds of fashion, home decorating and personal grooming. But the times are changing, and many straight men — and the women who love them — have begun to think more about personal style and appearance (any visit to a cosmetics or beauty-products counter will attest to that).
Riding this wave, Bravo premiered "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" on July 15. The one-hour weekly makeover show takes a team of gay experts, dubbed the "Fab Five," and sends it out to revamp the world of a straight guy in need of a little help, often at the request of wives and girlfriends desperate to banish bad haircuts, sloppy clothes and slovenly living spaces.
The show is the brainchild of two producers, gay David Collins, who created it, and straight David Metzler, who developed it.
"David and I have always tried to maintain," Metzler says, "that it’s a show where, at its foundation, it’s a makeover show, but it’s really about a story. What these guys do so well is bring the straight guy along for this journey. So, all along the way, there’s opportunities for questions, there’s opportunities to learn from the straight guy, so that you’re not just focusing on this before-and-after, but you’re learning about him all the way."
"The straight guy’s the star of the show," Collins adds. "The one thing about this show that we really strived for from the beginning, you know, gay guys, straight guys, they may do things a little differently in the bedroom, but in the end, they’re just guys. They want to feel good about themselves and confident.
"By no means do all gay guys have style and taste, just as, not all straight guys don’t. The show is very much about sharing all of those things and seeing each other’s differences."
Carrying out these makeovers are: Kyan Douglas, the personal-grooming guru; Ted Allen, food and wine connoisseur; Carson Kressley, fashion expert; Jai Rodriguez, culture expert and social-skills coach; and interior designer Thom Filicia.
"There’s a constant dialogue," Douglas says, "when we’re working with straight guys about what feels comfortable, how do they like what we’re doing. Carson does that when he’s dressing them. I would never cut somebody’s hair off just for the sake of cutting their hair off.
"But if there’s someplace they’re trying to get to, and a haircut makes sense for them and who they’re evolving into and becoming, then we go for it."
"Some of the best things are," Rodriguez says, "when we meet a guy, and he says, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t even know this (product) existed!’ You know, they would have wanted to try this had they known it was available to them."
"It’s been very interesting," Collins says, "to see some very simple basics that all men do, you know, shaving, tying a tie, how many guys do not know how to tie a tie, or actually start shaving a hundred miles an hour. It’s very simple things that they’re bringing to the table, and saying, ‘Hey you know what, try this.’ It’s amazing."
"Some women," Rodriguez says, "have always been, like, ‘Oh, God, if my husband would only...’ ‘If my boyfriend...’ These are just common-sense things. I mean, I’m sure you’d like for your brother, your husband, to clean up after himself, to dress nicely."
"Smell good," Kressley adds.
"If you’re going out, to smell good," Rodriguez agrees, "to shave himself correctly, to keep his living space looking great, to possibly cook you a wonderful meal when you get home from work.
"These are things that you would love, that I don’t think are ‘gay’ or ‘straight.’ They’re just wonderful things that every man should be equipped to know."
TVBites ... PBS will produce 13 new episodes of Gregory Nava’s drama series "American Family," which broke ground as the first Latino drama on broadcast television when it premiered in Jan. 2002. Funding comes from corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson, the American Legacy Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Edward James Olmos returns as the patriarch of the Gonzalez family as it seeks the American dream.