The Next Wave

12.5.2004

By Daniel R. Coleridge

Watch your back, Fab Five. There's a new crew of tr's fey hipsters that is movin' in on your milieu'namely, helping hopeless heteros boost their style and self-esteem. Like you, they're sexy and sassy, and they tool around town in an SUV'a totally stylin' silver Cadillac Escalade'like gay gang members. And they too are known by a catchy street handle: the Gal Pals.

America will meet this pink posse'Damon, Danny, Robbie, and Honey'when Queer Eye for the Straight Girl debuts January 12, the night after Straight Guy's season opener, at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific on Bravo. The channel's counting on a strong launch for both shows, despite the original Queer Eye's decline in ratings last year.

'It's still our highest-rated show,' points out Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick, though she admits a 'botox injection' is needed to freshen up the franchise. No, not literally. 'We're just giving [the guys] a lift by letting them travel outside the New York area.'

In other words, no more back waxes for hirsute husbands from Long Island! 'I'm an Ohio boy,' winks openly gay creator and executive producer David Collins, 'and I'm here to tell you they need our help in the flyover states.'

The Los Angeles'based Straight Girl, meanwhile, will focus on female trouble in its own sunny backyard. 'We have the tragedy that is West Coast fashion to work with,' Collins says. 'Ugg boots are so over. We'll nail that in the first episode.'

Out recently got acquainted with this spin-off's quirky quartet at the Paramour Mansion in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, where they were brewing up a bride's dream wedding. 'Britney Spears shot the video for her remake of Bobby Brown's 'My Prerogative' here,' says interior designer Damon Pease, 28. 'She crashed a Porsche right there in the pool!'

If Pease sounds a touch enthused about the setting, that's just because it's his job. The Gal Pals' roles are defined by four key L words: the Look, the Life, the Locale (that's Pease), and the Lady. Three out of four are ex-models, including Pease, who skipped college to stalk the runways of Europe then entered the design field as a florist and party planner.

'I get really stressed with my part of the show sometimes,' sighs Pease, who hails from San Diego. 'I'm very meticulous, but we're working under a time restraint. I've learned that if I don't get the right end table, it's not the end of the world.'

London-born dancer Danny Teeson, 29, seems more mellow than the frenetic Pease. The shy Brit'who fills the Life slot as Girl's health and fitness guru'boasts an impressive r'sum' in the United Kingdom, including stints as choreographer of Robbie Williams's recent world tour and backup dancer for Kylie Minogue, Geri Halliwell, and Gloria Estefan.

'It wasn't always like, 'Oh, I've gotta throw on my gold hot pants and go dance backup for Kylie,''' he laughs. 'I was a bellboy in college, so I come from humble beginnings. I've been fortunate in the jobs I've had.'

To read more about the Gal Pals, pick up the January issue of Out.

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