What The Fab Five Did With Their Lives Before Queer Eye

Photo: Courtesy of NEtflix.
At this point, I can't imagine a world without Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Karamo Brown joined together in unity, making the world a better place one crying jag at a time. The Fab Five of Netflix's Queer Eye reboot are an essential addition to today's pop culture landscape, bringing only sweetness and positivity to a world that's in grave need of it.
I know it's uncomfortable to dwell on, but there was a time before Queer Eye. A not-so-distant time. Just a year ago, the members of the Fab Five were free agents, pursuing their dreams independently. After an extremely wide-reaching casting process, Queer Eye's producers selected these five individuals and sent them flying to stardom.
What did they do before that fateful casting? Where were their paths taking them? Here are the origin stories of the Fab Five 2.0.
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Antoni Porowski

Where He's From: Porowski was born to Polish immigrants in Montreal. He grew up speaking French, English, and Polish fluently. When Porowski was in middle school, he and his parents moved to West Virginia; his older sisters stayed in Canada.

Where He Lives: Porowski resides in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, with his boyfriend. They showcased their studio in Apartment Therapy.

What He Did Before Queer Eye: Porowski's professional background is in acting, not cooking. He worked in restaurants, but never cooked professionally. Porowski met Ted Allen, the former Queer Eye food and wine expert, during a book signing. Through conversation, they learned they happened to be neighbors. Porowski became his personal chef. Eventually, Allen recommended he audition for the Queer Eye reboot.

Who His Partner Is: Porowski lives with his equally photogenic boyfriend of six years, Joey Krietemeyer.
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Tan France

Where He's From: France was born in Doncaster, England, to Pakistani parents.

Where He Lives: Utah — and there's a story behind it. While living in New York, France visited a friend in Salt Lake City, Utah, and decided within 20 minutes he would live there one day. In the next few years, he visited the city often and eventually met his now-husband, illustrator Rob France.

What He Did Before Queer Eye: After working in women's fashion for about 10 years, France founded Kingdom & State, a women's clothing line, in 2011. Kingdom & State relocated to the U.S. from England in 2013.

Who His Partner Is: France is married to Rob France, who he's referred to as "a Mormon cowboy from Wyoming." France, a Muslim, has written about how their religious upbringings actually brought him and Rob closer. “It made it easier to date somebody who had similarities to me. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke,” he said.
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A post shared by Karamo (@karamobrown) on

Karamo Brown

Where He's From: Brown was born in Houston, Texas, and then moved to Florida. He graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the scene of the Parkland school shooting.

Where He Lives: Brown lives in L.A. with his fiancé and two sons.

What He Did Before Queer Eye: Brown already had extensive TV experience by the time Queer Eye came along. In 2005, when he was 22, Brown appeared on the Real World Philadelphia, making him the first out gay Black man on reality TV. Brown stayed in the TV world after that, becoming an on-air host and producer. He returned to reality TV in 2015, when he was a cast member of #TheNext15, a show that tracked Brown's balancing act between professional and father of two. Unlike the other members of the Fab Five, Brown has children – two grown sons, age 21 and 17. In 2006, Brown discovered he had a biological son when his then 10-year-old son's mother (Brown's high school girlfriend) filed for unpaid child support. Eventually, Brown took custody of his son, Jason, and Jason's half-brother, Christian.

Who His Partner Is: Brown recently proposed to his boyfriend Ian Jordan in a surprise ceremony.
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Bobby Berk

Where He's From: Like Karamo, Bobby Berk is from Texas. Berk was raised in Missouri, and has spoken about his very religious upbringing on the show.

Where He Lives: Berk lives in L.A. with his husband.

What He Did Before Queer Eye: In 2003, Berk moved to New York with "$100 and a suitcase" to pursue his career in interior design. According to his company's website, Berk began in retail jobs like Bed Bath & Beyond and Restoration Hardware, and then climbed the ranks to becoming a creative director at Portico Home and Spa. In 2015, he founded his own design firm, Bobby Berk Home. "We work with a lot of major homebuilders here in the U.S., and try to take what people normally would call a tract home and make it feel more like a custom home," Berk told Metropolis of his company.

Who His Partner Is: Berk and his husband, Dewey, have been married for 14 years.
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Give all the hugs. 📸 @benritterphoto

A post shared by Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) on

Jonathan Van Ness

Where He's From: Van Ness is from Quincy, Illinois, a small town located five hours southwest of Chicago.

Where He Lives: Currently, Van Ness lives in L.A.

What He Did Before Queer Eye: Van Ness split his time the way he currently does in Queer Eye — grooming hair and showing off his one-of-a-kind personality. Van Ness owns two hair salons, one in L.A. and one in New York. Van Ness became an internet personality by hosting the Funny or Die show Gay of Thrones, in which he gives an idiosyncratic recap of that week's episode of Game of Thrones while cutting hair. He actually got the gig through a connection with his client, who was a producer of Funny or Die. Van Ness also hosts the podcast Getting Curious.

Who His Partner Is: Van Ness is single.

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