News & Press

News & Press

Finding the Fab Five: How Netflix’s Queer Eye Came to Be


by: Tierney Bricker

Leave it to Mindy Kaling to tweet the truth.

“I’m gonna say what we’re all thinking: whoever cast the @netflix #queereye did an incredible job,” she wrote on June 24. And we couldn’t agree more, along with the rest of the world as it seems everyone is obsessed with Netflix’s Queer Eye, the revival of the iconic series that has introduced an all-new Fab Five. In less than a year, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France and Bobby Berk have gone from virtual unknowns to overnight pop culture sensations.

And Danielle Gervais (the senior vice president of casting & talent at ITV America) and Gretchen Palek (the co-president of Leftfield Pictures), are the two women responsible for finding the Internet’s five new bingeable best friends. You’re welcome, Mindy!

“There was a lot of pressure,” Palek told E! News of the search for 2018’s Fab Five. “That’s the beautiful thing about casting, if it doesn’t work we’re first blamed! We understood how important it was.”

Here’s the untold story of how Netflix’s Fab Five came to be in honor Queer Eye being nominated for five awards for the 2018 People’s Choice Awards, including Best TV Revival, Best TV Reality Show and Best Bingeworthy Show. (Antoni and Jonathan are also up for Best Reality TV Star.)

The Search Is On
Though Gervais and Palek learned of the project in the summer of 2016, the hunt for their five stars couldn’t really begin until early November. And there were two big issues once their global search was officially underway: They couldn’t say it was Queer Eye or that it was for Netflix.

“We really had to be proactive in the way that we were finding people,” Palek said. Our strategy is always to see as many people as possible and make sure there was strength in each individual vertical.”

But finding qualified candidates was no easy task, as Gervais explained, “When you want people that are true masters of their craft and people that have the credentials we were looking for it’s always tricky to try and convince them to do a show that they don’t know is Queer Eye. That’s always a challenge for us.”

While the five men ultimately selected were relatively unknown before the series, there were conversations about whether or not to cast a famous name.

“There were some famous men that certainly we were thinking of and through the process just didn’t make sense,” Gervais said. “A lot of conversations of whether or not to go with people who were already known or really discover people and help them grow together as opposed to inserting a star amongst the other four. We looked at everyone.”