Interview with Carson Kressley

Love him or hate him,
Carson Kressley is one of TV’s most recognizable gay reality stars. He burst
onto the scene with Bravo’s groundbreaking reality phenomenon Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and he’s
been everywhere ever since. Whether he’s on the red carpet at the Oscars, dropping
by The Today Show, or commentating
for the Miss USA pageant, Carson
always brings his flamboyant style and quick wit to the screen. In fact, it’s
that vibrant — some say over-the-top — personality that has become somewhat
divisive within the gay community.

In addition to his CW
reality show Crowned, Carson recently got his
own show on Lifetime, an American remake of the British show How To Look Good Naked. While the show
is at heart a makeover show, it’s unique in that it’s more about teaching women
to see through their insecurities and warped self-images than finding them a
cute outfit. The program has even come under fire for not encouraging the women
to diet or lose weight.

Each episode follows Carson as he meets a woman with
body issues and helps her learn to see herself differently, get a makeover, and
finally do a nude photo shoot. The show debuted last month to record numbers
for the Lifetime Channel.

We recently talked to Carson about his new show,
gay men on television, and what the other Queer
Eye
guys are up to these days. Oh, and Carson is quite the multitasker too. He was
doing dishes while we chatted.

AfterElton.com: Congratulations
on the record breaking ratings for your new show!
Carson Kressley:
Thank you so much. We’re really super excited and proud of it. We’re just
hoping it’ll continue to do well.

AE: With other similar makeover shows out there such as What Not To Wear and How Do I Look? what made you decide to
do a show like this?
CK:
Basically, when I first heard the name, I didn’t want to do something
gimmicky. I was just finishing up with Queer
Eye
, which had a great run and it was more than just a makeover show. It
helped people achieve things and improve their lives, not just their look. I
felt like this show had the same kind of potential.

The good thing about this
show was that it was successful on the BBC in England so before I said I wanted
to do it, I got to see one of their episodes. I really felt it was a good fit
because I could take what I do, which is making people feel better by making
them look better, and make a version for the United States.

I think it’s kind of
similar to Queer Eye in that it’s not
just about the outside. We really transform the way people think about
themselves, and I think that’s the most powerful kind of makeover show. A lot
of them that are out there now don’t do that. They show the made-over person to
their friends and family, and it’s like, "Wow, you look different." But
has their life really changed? For most of them, the answer is no. With this
one, though, I think we really help people live a better life.

And I needed the money.

AE: So how did you come to be involved?
CK:
Actually, Lifetime approached me about a couple different projects, and
this was one that really resonated. Again, it was a good match for making
people look better and feel better, and do more than just put her in a cute
outfit.

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