As a lot of ya'll already know, Mike and I are huge fans of Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy". I just love how snarky yet caring the Fab Five can be, and how undeniably talented they each are in their field of expertise.
The show's resident fashionista Carson Kressley has sort-of become the rising star of the bunch 'cause he's the most seemingly extroverted. When Mike and I saw his smiling face beaming down at us from a billboard for the Northwest Women's Expo, we decided, that's it! We gotta go! No matter how scary the idea of a "women's expo" sounded to the both of us.
And scary indeed. The expo featured such seminars as "How To Choose Your Plastic Surgeon" and "8 Out Of 10 Women wear The Wrong Size Bra". Snickering, Mike pointed out a thirty-minute class to me titled "How To Improve Your Posture In 4 minutes" (HEE!). The Washington State Beef Commission had its own stage. Chico's gave a fashion show. [*shudder*] Ew, Chico's!... While I was totally mortified myself, I was even more concerned for poor Mike, being a young male in such a high-estrogen environment. Thankfully, there were quite a few other guys around, too, being lugged around by their significant others. Phew.
The crowd for Carson was enormous! I really don't think the planners for this expo were prepared for such a huge turn-out, as the seating for his Q&A was woefully small. People were spilling out into the aisles, blocking booths and surely irritating vendors. (Sorry!) People were lined up on the stairwells, stretching their necks to get a glimpse of the diminutive cable TV diva. It was really insane! Mike and I were lucky 'cause we're both pretty tall (well, truthfully, Mike is tall; I just pretend to be tall), so even though we were standing out in an aisle, we could still see the stage okay.
Carson came out to huge applause as the theme song bleated out from a P.A. system. He's surprisingly short (I think he said he was 5'7"?). He gave a little speech about the rules of fashion, which truthfully wasn't all that informative, but was cute and funny. (His rules included things like: "Be yourself" and "Don't bother following trends"...well, duh, my dear!) Then he took questions from the audience, setting off a flurry of hands shooting up in the air. I'll try to remember all he said...
When asked if they would ever do a "Queer Eye for the Straight Gal" show, Carson replied breezily, "Oh, please! You ladies don't need our help!" but then added that the producers were working on a show for women, and that we should keep our eye out for that. (He didn't mention it in the Q&A, but I've read online that it'll feature a totally different group of guys giving the advice.) Then, when asked if they would ever do a "Queer Eye for the Queer Guy" show, he replied, "They don't need our help either!"
Here's the most interesting thing I learned from the Q&A: someone asked what they did with the straight guy's old stuff. Carson revealed that the furniture is loaded up and donated to Goodwill. And while they do indeed throw the bad fashions out the windows, what we don't see is that there's a crew down there who pick up and box everything up and throw it in the straight guy's basement. So, as Carson explained, they don't really lose their old clothes, but he just hopes they make the evolution to dressing nicer and don't end up digging through the boxes and going back to their old ways.
Lessee, he also told us that John Bargeman (the guy they made over so he could propose to his girlfriend) had not gotten married yet 'cause the Fab Five were indeed going to serve as his best men and they were trying to organize their schedules. He also mentioned that they were going to start venturing out of the NY area, and that they were going to be filming in Texas. In the summer. Poor, poor East Coast boys...they're gonna bake like cake, lemme tell ya! Someone asked how the boys were cast (don't these people read any articles about the boys? sheesh!), and Carson politely told the story he's told a million times before about what each guy was doing before they were cast, cheekily adding, "And, Ted, we found him at an old folks' home...no, just kidding!" Hee! At one point, a woman raised her hand and said she was remodeling her bedroom and wanted his opinion on a red, white and blue patriotic bed canopy. Carson pulled out his cell phone and said, "Well, let's just call up my friend Thom and ask what he thinks..." and my eyes got huge thinking he was actually going to call up Thom!!! Instead, Carson jokingly went, "Hello, Thom? This woman wants an opinion on a red, white, and blue canopy?...Uh-huh...Okay, I'll tell her..." and then he turned back to the woman and said, "Bad idea," proceeding to go into standard "make your bedroom a sanctuary" stuff. But then he was like, "Oh wait, my phone is ringing---Hello? Yes, Thom! I told her not to do it!" Hee hee!!! Carson is so cute and funny!!!
Someone asked if they had to deal with any homophobia in their career, and Carson (thankfully) said no, and that the response to the show has been so overwhelmingly positive. That made me really happy to hear. He brought up John Verdi, the Port Authority cop they made over who was, indeed, a little squirmy about having five gay guys making him over. Carson told us about how when he was dressing him up, he put him in a tank top and his biceps looked so good, Carson just had to lick his arm (!!!). Faking a tough guy accent, Carson mimicked his response, saying "Dood! Doood! Don't do that!" But then Carson said, later on John was all prancing around and talking in a baby voice and Carson was all, "You're acting more gay than I do!!!"
Throughout it all, Carson came off as so sweet and personable and approachable and genuine and appreciative and---well, just darn nice! The show organizers then asked everyone to line up to the left of the stage for autographs, and excuse me while I laugh at their naivete. The "line" was more like a huge blob of crazed fans, standing chin-to-shoulder-blades. Whenever the line moved, we would all shuffle-shuffle-shuffle, trying not to lose our place. We must've looked deranged! Quite a few people dropped out of the line with an exasperated, "I'm not waiting in this mob just to get an autograph!" One poor girl got a bloody nose! (I'm not sure how it happened though.) And then the organizers came out and said that not everyone was going to get a chance to meet Carson since he could only stay for a while longer, certainly not enough time to meet every person who was in the line.
But thankfully, Mike and I got through the line pretty quick and got to meet him! : ) Watching him sign autographs for the people in line ahead of us, I couldn't help but notice how very, very tired he looked. Poor dear thing. But he never, not once, was anything but gracious and welcoming. I couldn't help but be impressed by that!
As we waited in line, I tried to think of what I would say to him. Would I tell him about Mike's awesome stepdad who's 60 years old and loves the show? Would I point out how much Mike looks like Ted? Or would I end up getting weepy, thinking about the articles I've read about how sweet dear Carson was suicidal at age 16 dealing with his homosexuality while growing up in Allentown, PA, and now, through the success of shows like "Queer Eye", kids today don't have to endure so much pain and sorrow when confronting their own sexuality?
So, what did I do? None of the above. The expo organizers were hustling people along so quickly that in the rush of the moment, my mind went blank, and instead I just babbled, "Ohmygod, you are so awesome!" I was wearing a flower pin that I made using a vintage scarf from the 60's, and Carson immediately noticed and cooed, "Ohh, I love your corsage!" I positively melted!
And then Mike went up to get his autograph and he asked, "Carson, can I ask you for a favor?" and Carson replied sweetly, "Well, of course!" Mike replied, "Would you tsjuz my sleeves?" And Carson, so kindly, said, "Well, sure I would!" and proceeded to unbutton Mike's sleeve cuffs pointing out that you want to unbutton every button and make sure to expose the nice inner details of the sleeves, and then like the pro he is, Carson "tsjuzed" both of Mike's sleeves. It was such a cute moment, 'cause I could hear people back in the line going, "Look! Look! Carson is tsjuzing!" and the people in Carson's posse were all laughing. It was really so cool, and I'm still kicking myself that I was so in awe of the whole process that I forgot to snap out of it and take a picture! Damn.
So, to wrap up this long fan-girl post, I'll just say Carson Kressley is super rad. The end. :)