When Queer Eye for the Straight Guy premiered in July 2003, there was nothing like it on television. Five gay men — Carson Kressley, Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, and Jai Rodriquez — surprised a schlubby (almost always) straight man with a full-life makeover, from his hair, clothes and hygiene routines to his home, his meals, and his command of the broader culture.
Each of the Fab 5 had a specialty: Carson was the clotheshorse; Ted was the food and wine expert; Kyan was the beauty guru; Thom was an established interior designer; and Jai was a cultural expert.
Their rapport as a team and the uniqueness of the concept at the time won them an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program in 2004, spawned two American spin-offs (2005’s Queer Eye for the Straight Girl and the 2018 gender-neutral reboot Queer Eye), and inspired more than a dozen international editions.
So, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s debut, catch an all-day marathon of the series on Bravo July 13 starting at 6 a.m. ET and check out what the Fab 5 have been up to the last 20 years.
Carson, who had been working as a stylist for Ralph Lauren when he auditioned for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, has kept quite busy — and in touch with his other cast members.
He’s currently a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (on which Thom recently appeared as a guest judge), having served as a judge or guest judge on that show, RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race since 2015. He’s simultaneously serving as a judge on BBQ Brawl: Flay V. Symon and appearing as one of the celebrity contestants on the TV gameshow Pictionary.
Carson and Thom previous paired up for the 2018 Bravo show Get a Room with Carson and Thom, which was focused on home makeovers (Thom’s speciality).
In 2022, he appeared on Season 3 of Celebrity Big Brother, where he was voted America’s Favorite Houseguest, despite being evicted on Day 24 of the competition. He appeared as a contestant on Season 11 of Worst Cooks in America in 2017 and, despite losing the main dish challenge in Episode 3, returned as a guest judge in Seasons 19, 21, and 2022.
Also in 2017, Carson took part in the Australian edition of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! and in the final season of The Celebrity Apprentice, hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He competed on Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars and hosted his own travelogue show, Carson Nation, in 2011. He was one of three judges on the 2009 competition show, True Beauty, in which contestants were told they were competing in a beauty pageant but actually judged on their “inner beauty.” He hosted the American version of the show How to Look Good Naked in 2008, which was designed to boost the confidence of participants through self-esteem building exercises rather than weight loss or plastic surgery.
Oh, and he appeared on the celebrity edition of Jeopardy in 2006 — coming in second after losing by just $1 after Final Jeopardy.
Ted was a contract writer for Esquire (where he was a National Magazine Award nominee for his 2000 story “This Man Survived Breast Cancer“) with zero television experience and no training as a professional chef when, on a whim he auditioned for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, he told Food & Wine in 2008. But he clearly nailed it — and his career has been dedicated to food ever since.
After the show ended, Ted served as a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef for Seasons 3 and 4 before being named the host of Chopped in its inaugural season in 2009. He’s remained in that role for 54 seasons to date, and served as a judge on the spin-off Chopped Junior as well. He’s additionally appeared as a judge repeatedly on Beat Bobby Flay, Iron Chef America, and Food Network Star. He’s also a regular on the series The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Kyan, the Fab 5’s “grooming guru,” began appearing as a style and fashion expert on Rachel Ray’s eponymous talk show the year after Queer Eye for the Straight Guy ended. After 115 appearances, according to People, he announced his retirement from television in May 2022.
“I’ve worked for you for 13 years, and because of you and working on this show, the flexibility that it gave me, the income that it gave me, I was able to spend the last year of my mother’s life with her at home,” he told Ray during his final episode.
“I just feel ready to move on to something else,” he added. “I don’t know what that is yet, but things come to an end, and the universe will fill a void. It’s time to step away and see what’s next for me.”
Thom, who has a degree in interior design and had opened his own company in 1998 according to Out in Jersey, had around 10 employees when he joined the cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in 2003. Following the end of the show, he starred on the show Dress My Nest, in which he designed room in someone’s home inspired by their favorite outfit, according to The AV Club.
Though he’s made occasional guest appearances on other shows, his only major television project besides Get a Room with Carson & Thom in 2018 was his appearance on Season 2 of RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race as the queen “Jackie Would.” (Yes, Carson was a judge in several of that season’s episodes as well!)
He has continued to work as an interior designer and collaborate with companies on home decor lines.
Jai, who was on hiatus from appearing in Rent on Broadway when he joined the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cast, has mostly focused on his acting career since the end of the show — barring his turn as the host of the dog grooming reality show Groomer Has It in 2008.
His acting credits include dozens of guest appearances on shows like Nip/Tuck, Days of Our Lives, Bones, How I Met Your Mother, Grace and Frankie, Grey’s Anatomy, Sharknado 5, The Rookie, and Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens. He was in the 2022 movie Bros, the Neil Patrick Harris show Uncoupled, had a recurring role on the show Eastsiders, and, of course, appeared in the Lady Gaga-Beyoncé video for the song “Telephone.”
He most recently put on a solo cabaret show in Palm Springs titled “Thot-ful Songs in the Key of Me.”