Queer

Antoni Porowski and Karamo Brown visited UGA on Nov. 30, 2018, to speak at the Tate Grand Hall.

On most nights, Tate Grand Hall is somewhat unremarkable — it’s just like any other large room, covered in basic carpet, with neutral walls, and on nights with events grey chairs that precisely line  the room and lead to black curtains framing a small stage. What makes the room special is not its decor or layout, but rather the engaging readers and listeners who bring their magnetic energy into it.

On Nov. 30, there was no shortage of excited energy as Antoni Porowski and Karamo Brown, two stars from Netflix’s smash series “Queer Eye,” took to the Tate Grand Hall stage.

Audience members were eager to get a seat, enduring the long line that gathered within the Tate Student Center prior to the event. Many were just excited to see Porowski and Brown in person, instead of as pixels on their computer or TV screens.

“I just love ‘Queer Eye,’ and it’s one of my favorite shows,” said Erin Proctor, a senior advertising major from Augusta. “I was excited when I found out they were coming [here].”

Without any flashy introductions or elaborate costuming, the two men took to the stage to candidly share their experiences both in life and from the show, while also giving advice to the eager crowd.

Porowski and Brown both spoke on how their lives have changed since attaining fame from the show’s success. They shared their gratitude at the ability to talk to each other about challenges during their transition from relative normalcy to life after being on the show and the strong support group they’ve formed with their other castmates.

The duo also addressed how they feel their roles on the “Queer Eye” reboot are different from that of their predecessors on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which ended in 2007.  Brown spoke on how he felt that while the first version of the show was seeking to promote tolerance of the LGBTQ+ community, the reboot aims to advocate for its acceptance.

Porowski and Brown also pointed out that even as members of the LGBTQ+ community, they still actively seek to learn more about it.

Porowski learned the etiquette of interacting with transgender people during his time filming a “Queer Eye” episode in Athens, which featured local Skyler Jay, who was in the audience.

The event also touched on big issues, bringing up Brown’s own encounter on the show with a unknowingly staged police encounter. Brown further commented on the state of police, whom he feels have been militarized in recent years.

“We should never be fearful of someone who’s here to serve and protect us,” he said.

Most of the night found the men preaching about self love and learning to understand others, with Brown telling the audience they are “perfectly designed.”

“It’s incredible how much you can learn about somebody in a short amount of time when you ask the right questions and listen,” Porowski said.

Brown furthered this point by saying humans have one mouth and two ears, meaning we should listen twice as often as we speak.

The audience was given half an hour to ask a few questions at the evening’s end. People who wanted to ask the stars questions lined up at two microphones in the room.

The questions ranged from asking advice on how to handle uncertainty about an art major in college, confidence issues, what the “Queer Eye” cast thought when they first met each other and how to handle political differences among friends and family.

Throughout the night, the shouts and cheers of the crowd were met with humility, kindness and humor on the part of Brown and Porowski.  It was a comfortable atmosphere, which allowed the audience to laugh, smile and hopefully discover a little more about themselves.

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