Carson Kressley: Original ‘Fab Five’ fashion savant set to emcee Wilmington charity event (“1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast)

Carson Kressley: Original ‘Fab Five’ fashion savant set to emcee Wilmington charity event (“1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast)
Updated: Sep. 2, 2022 at 5:30 AM EDT
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Carson Kressley, one of the Fab Five from the original "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" show, is the guest on the new episode of "1on1 with Jon Evans" podcast.

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Carson Kressley had started his career in fashion, working for Ralph Lauren in New York City, when an opportunity came up that would ultimately transform his life. A co-worker told him about hearing a radio ad while riding in a cab, and it said television producers were looking for five gay men with specific expertise to makeover a straight man. The series would end up being called “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”.

“I tell people all the time, a calculated risk is a great thing,” Kressley says about calling the producers, auditioning for the role of fashion savant, and ultimately landing as one of the original “Fab Five”. “I was young, I didn’t have a lot of responsibilities, and I had a fantastic support system. To the credit of the people at Ralph Lauren, my boss said ‘Oh, you should try doing this TV show, and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll just hire you back’. I was like ‘Whaaaaat?’ That was the kind of supportive boss that I was so lucky to have, and I was able to do it.”

The original QEFTSG ran for five seasons (2003-2007) on Bravo TV, winning Emmy Awards in 2004 for Kressley and fellow co-hosts Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia and Jai Rodriguez. The success of the show not only launched Kressley’s media career, he says it also became an important milestone for the LGBTQ community.

“We had no idea that it would be so impactful,” Kressley said. “Honestly, I just wanted to get rid of mullets and pleated khakis. We were just out there doing our jobs. Being authentic, I think is really important, and we were having a great time. A wonderful byproduct of that is, families would watch together, and young people would say, ‘Oh, I feel comfortable coming out to my family because we watched the show together, and we had a dialogue about the coming out process’ or whatever. It just made young people’s lives a little bit easier, because maybe for the first time they saw someone like them being represented on the screen. I’m so lucky I had that opportunity, and with (RuPaul’s) Drag Race right now. I’m so lucky I had that opportunity with Queer Eye twenty years ago, and they’ve both been such huge blessings for me.”

The 52-year-old Pennsylvania native, and magna cum laude grad from Gettysburg College has since gone on to host television shows about fashion and design, and guest on several other shows including RuPaul’s Drag Race, Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Apprentice. He’s also authored several best-selling books and launched clothing lines for men and women. All these accomplishments made possible, at least in part, by the confidence Kressley gained with the success of Queer Eye.

“We all have that inside, but just sometimes we need to hear it for that validation,” Kressley said. “I call it the ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ theory. I didn’t know I couldn’t be on TV, so I thought ‘Why not?’ I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to design clothes, or write best-selling books. But I just took the plunge, and it’s worked out. Just like saying ‘Yes!’ to Queer Eye, and quitting my great job at Ralph Lauren, probably seemed a little imprudent. But it worked out.”

Kressley is coming to Wilmington on October 7, 2022, when he will host a fundraising brunch starting at 11:00 a.m. at the Country Club of Landfall to benefit Welcome Home Angel, an organization that renovates living spaces for children in southeastern North Carolina who are chronically ill, injured or disabled, to improve the lives of the children and their families. Kressley first heard about the mission behind Welcome Home Angel from Meg Caswell, WHA’s Board President and the Season 6 winner of HGTV’s Design Star, when she appeared on Couched with Carson Kressley, his show that aired on The Design Network. With the brunches postponed the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, things worked out this year for Kressley to attend and be the emcee.

“Welcome Home Angel is such a great organization, providing nicer living spaces for kids who are recovering from an illness or going through a life challenging experience,” Kressley said. “Having a nice place to live, one that functions and is clean and efficient, can really change their outcome significantly. Meg Caswell is a great friend, and she is also relentless. I wanted to support Meg, and I wanted to support the kids. I know first-hand how impactful your living space can be. I’ve done so many make-over shows where we change a kitchen, or we make a bathroom accessible, or we re-do somebody’s bedroom and make it their own. It changes their life for the better. So, I knew we could make a big impact with this charity.”

To learn more details about the fundraising brunch that Carson Kressley will emcee for Welcome Home Angel on October 7, you can click here. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Carson Kressley, and support the WHA organization if you can.

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