'Queer Eye' star Antoni Porowski talks season 2, underwear and his weekly ritual with Jonathan Van Ness
Since premiering on Netflix back in February, the new incarnation of "Queer Eye" has been, well, everywhere.
In addition to touting the likes of Gigi Hadid, Chrissy Teigen and Eva Chen as diehard fans, the Fab Five has been meme'd ("Can you believe?"), sparked important conversations around self-care and gun violence and coming out and even faced a misguided barrage of criticism ("Can Antoni Cook?"). And, with the recent announcement that Netflix has renewed "Queer Eye" for a second season (that has already been filmed!), the public should buckle up for even more of these fabulous men.
AOL Entertainment recently caught up with food and wine expert Antoni Porowski to talk about navigating his newfound fame alongside the rest of the Fab Five, his new #VouchForThePouch campaign with Hanes and whether or not we can expect any changes in season 2 of "Queer Eye."
Check out our full conversation with Antoni Porowski below:
Congratulations on the success of "Queer Eye"! It’s been so fun to watch it really catch fire over the past two months, which isn’t easy to do when there’s so much content out there.
I really appreciate that. To be honest, as much has I believe in the show and am behind it, I thought it would be more of an homage show and sort of a flashback to the original. It’s taken on its own voice, though, and I think it’s come out at the perfect time. I’m so excited.
What I’ve also loved is how much you and the rest of the Fab Five have been supporting one another, which is something that I chatted with Jonathan about when he came in last month. How nice has it been to have four other people to navigate this newfound fame with?
It’s definitely a bit of a camp syndrome where you’re forced into this weird environment and make best friends overnight. Since you brought up Jonathan, we’ve become fast friends and we actually have developed this sort of Wednesday ritual where we spend the whole day together, work out and judge each other’s Instagram photos. [Laughs] It’s fun to have them to go through it with. My boyfriend is incredibly supportive, but to have them they know exactly what it’s like to go through this is great. It’s nice to have them on speed dial and in a group chat where we can tell each other that we’re overwhelmed or whatever we’re feeling that day. It’s nice.
It’s nice that you and Jonathan have developed that routine! That’s pretty rare to be able to maintain something like that.
Yeah, he’s my workout buddy! And then we go to a museum together and do other activities and then we prepare a meal for my boyfriend Joey, and we have our little family day. As Jonathan says, he’s a bicoastal baby! I’m convinced he’s going to move here, and I’m trying to make it happen. New York will be better for it.
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You also have this growing new platform that has brought you a ton of new opportunities and brand partnerships, like this one that you have with Hanes. Talk to me about this collaboration and why it felt right.
We waited a little bit, but I’m very impatient and I want to do everything all at once. At the same time -- and this is a bit of a contradiction -- but I’m definitely more about quality over quantity. On the show, I try to be as authentic and honest as I can. If I’m not myself, it’s a missed opportunity for the hero. Tying that into my social media [collaborations] with partnerships and brands, I only want to promote brands that I’m passionate about. When Hanes came up with the possibility of a collaboration, I was super excited because I’m very loyal with my brands -- and I wear very few -- but I think of the Hanes as being the epitome of iconic American underwear, and they told me about the Comfort Flex Fit boxer briefs -- try to say that five times fast! -- their newly adapted version that’s more roomy not as flat. You know what I mean, we don’t have to get into it. [Laughs] But they’re super comfortable.
My parents were European, so I was raised wearing classic briefs, while Americans are more comfortable with boxer briefs. These feel like underwear, but leg portion a little longer so they don’t ride up. They’re not being promoted as activewear, but I’ve been benefiting from them that way. If you’re doing pilates on a reformer, you don’t want to have your full naked leg showing and they have a stretch fabric and hold really well. I workout once or twice a day sometimes, so I need something that dries really quickly. Also, the logo is really cool, too. My boyfriend, who is an art director, really loves it.
And, like you said, Hanes is such an iconic American brand, so it must feel validating that the company like that trusts you to represent them.
Right?! I didn’t even think of that until you mentioned it, but for them to be so open to working with me is amazing. I’ve lived in Montreal and New York, so I come from a multicultural, liberal bubble, and for them to want to have someone who is gay promote their underwear and t-shirts sends a really awesome, strong message.
Let’s talk season 2 of “Queer Eye” -- to say I'm excited would be a massive understatement.
We can actually talk about it now! It feels really nice. I had to stay quiet about it in interviews for a long time, so it’s lovely to be able to talk about.
And you guys already filmed it, so is it safe to assume that not much will change between the first and second seasons? Will it almost feel like an extension of season 1?
Yes and no. We’re going to continue with the same message we had in season 1, and we’ll be touching on a word that I brought up earlier, which is “inclusivity.” It’ll be a continued focus, but it’s an evolving word in season 2. I’ll leave it at that, though, because I don’t want to get in trouble, but also, exploring from a food perspective is all about helping the hero, however complex or simple their needs may be. In season 2, I had an opportunity to go into more of a cultural direction with food and exploring heroes’ roots and backgrounds this season. It’s really fun.
I learned a lot more in season 2 than I did in season 1, so I’m very excited for everyone to see it.
If you were to film new episodes tomorrow, would you change anything about the show?
Well, I would definitely take a thee-pack of Hanes Comfort Flex Fit boxer briefs! [Laughs] But, no, I think I would just focus more on really interacting with my cast mates and figuring out what’s best for the heroes -- which we did, but I want to do that even more. I want to learn more about what Jonathan, Bobby and everyone is doing with them and making it more of an integrated piece. I find that it’s the best when we work together.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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