How Netflix's "Queer Eye" Made Me a Better Person

If you haven’t seen or heard of Netflix’s original “Queer Eye,” you’re like me up until recently. I had no clue how deprived I was, going about my life without the warm blanket of happiness that is “Queer Eye.” Though on the surface it is just a television show, it’s a stark reflection of real life and has changed mine for the better.

The premise of the show is that 5 gay men, known as the “Fab Five,” travel through Atlanta, Georgia to give lifestyle makeovers to people, known as “Heroes,” who may be struggling or in need of change in their lives. However, the makeover is much more than just new clothes and a new haircut. The Fab Five embolden the Heroes to look deep within themselves to address what may be holding them back from living a more joyful life. It is incredibly inspiring, uplifting, and very much tear-jerking.

 

Meet the Fab Five

 

Firsy, you have Karamo, the Culture Expert, but he is so much more than that. He is a goofy, deeply empathetic and honest life coach who helps people discover what has been holding them back, so that they can let it go and become the person they’re meant to be. He listens to their stories with so much kindness and understanding to let the Hero know that he sees the very best parts of them.

 

Then you have Bobby, the interior designer, who understands how important one’s living space is. He explains that where you live is often a reflection of your inner self, and if your space is messy and in disarray, you cannot be at your highest level of function. Not only is he a ridiculously talented interior designer, but he is also very knowledgeable about when to listen and when to offer advice. He lets the Heroes know that they are not alone in the struggles they experience by being very open about his own challenges he has had to face.

 

Next is the lovely fashion designer, Tan. He empowers people to show the world who they are through clothing. He understands that in a world of infinite criticism, people often feel self-conscious, and thus unable to put their best foot forward. So, he works with them to find clothing that makes them feel good about themselves. More than anything he is kind and always affirming the Hero’s worth and beauty.

 

Next is Antoni, the compassionate, articulate, and funny food and wine expert. He understands how integral food is to our society and our health. He works with people of all skill sets and diets, showing them that food is both fuel and a reflection of your love for your family, an act of independence, and a way to connect with people. Antoni has this palpable excitement and enthusiasm that enables him to connect deeply with the Heroes.

 

And finally is the bubbly, hilarious ray of sunshine that is grooming consultant, Jonathan. Everywhere he goes he is throwing around words of affirmation, making people feel loved and beautiful. He gives the Heroes haircuts and provides them with the tools to create better grooming habits because he believes that doing so is an act of self-love. He lets them know that it is okay to take care of yourself, and not only that but that it is important to do so because when you take care of yourself you are better able to extend that care to others.

 

Everything that these fabulous men have empowered the heroes to do, has always empowered me. Each episode I learn something new that I can then translate into my own life.

 

How the Fab Five Improved My Life

 

It has increased my ability to empathize with people. In my own small way, I have been able to see life from different perspectives. The show has featured multiple gay men and a lesbian women, as well as a transgender man, as the Heroes. They talked about their struggle with identity in a world that does not offer them ubiquitous acceptance, and as they tell their stories and share their light with the world, they inspire people. I am awed by their strength. The show features people from many different walks of life: a single mom, a widowed dad, a teenager struggling to find friends, families, and many other incredible people who through sharing their challenges, inspire me to overcome my own. Learning the stories of others reminds me to offer people compassion and understanding rather than judgment.

 

 

 

I have learned to be kinder to myself

 

The Fab Five’s entire mission is to help the heroes love themselves and be themselves. I have begun to translate this into my own life, as the Fab Five continually remind the heroes that when you love yourself you are better able to love other people. So, when I am kind to myself, I am able to be kinder to others. Every episode, the Fab Five make it a priority to affirm the hero’s worthiness and strength, celebrating them on their own unique journey, and I know they would tell the same to me and the same to you. They believe that loving yourself is an integral part of success because if you know your worth then no one can take it away.

 

It has shown me that letting people in is the key to happiness. This was especially significant to learn in my first year of college, where I am constantly meeting new people and struggling with all that comes with building new friendships. I am so lucky to be where I am, but it hasn’t always been easy. It was very important to hear Karamo say “being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.” Despite the potential hurt that may come, allowing people to see who you are is the only way to find the people who love you. And that, that is the ultimate sign of strength.

 

Things We Can All Learn from “Queer Eye”

 

To take accountability of your life.

It’s okay to cry.

Not to “erase the best parts” of yourself — just to “belong.”

"In the face of unspeakable tragedy, there are little moments where you can find joy.”

It's okay to ask for help.

The world is so much bigger than your pocket of it.

 

There is so much to be gained from watching “Queer Eye” and I hope, if you haven’t already, you can find some time to watch this wonderful show.

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