Carson Kressley has been in the television business for a long time. He was one of the original Fab Five on Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy back in 2003. After doing that for five years he bounced around, taking his fashion expertise to a variety of other shows. He's appeared on Dancing With the Stars and hosted his very own Carson Nation as well as How to Look Good Naked. But undoubtedly, one of the roles he is most known for today is his position as a regular judge talking all things fashion on RuPaul's Drag Race — where he's been since 2015.
This summer is set to see a lot more Carson, not only with Drag Race's upcoming All Stars season but also with his two-fer appearance on Celebrity Family Feud. On Sunday, May 31 he will appear on the show alongside his Queer Eye family. In the episode, the OG Queer Eye crew will compete against Netflix's Queer Eye cast. The teams are playing for The Trevor Project and GLSEN respectively.
Then on Sunday, June 14, Kressley will return with RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Latrice Royale, and Raven to compete again. This time, they will be matched against a team from The Bold Type.
Here, we talk to Kressley about his appearances on Celebrity Family Feud, fashion on Drag Race, and what he thinks about the new virtual finale.
How was the experience filming Celebrity Family Feud with the Queer Eye guys?
We've always considered ourselves family, in more than one way. You know, we've gone through this process together and we were so young. And we've always had a bit of a brotherhood amongst the two groups of Queer Eyes. So it was really fun to reunite and have this friendly rivalry between the groups.
It really did have a family, kind of vibe because there was a lot of good fun and laughs while also having that playful ribbing.
Did you learn anything about the OGs that, even though you’ve been working together for so long, you didn’t know?
I think I know pretty much everything about all of them. When you work together sharing a motor home for five years you get to know people quite well. I think that some people were surprisingly knowledgeable and good. Jay has always been the baby of the family because he’s so much younger than the rest of us — we’re all like 50 and he just turned 40 — but he had some great answers.
But otherwise, everyone was quite on it and prepared. They were also quite big fans of the show. One thing I didn’t know about Tom was I didn’t know he was a Family Feud fanatic but we got there and he was geeking out over the set and the music.
Netflix recently announced the latest season of their Queer Eye. What is it like to see a version of something you played such a significant part in, still going so many years later?
I think it's very flattering that the brand is still so successful. And it's wonderful to see a new group of very talented Queer Eyes taking over the reins and who knows maybe another 20 years there might even be another group of Queer Eyes. It's kind of like we have our own fraternity of sorts.
That part of your career is sort of in your review at this point and you’ve sort of replaced it with RuPaul’s Drag Race, where you’ve been a permeant judge for a few years. How have you been the fashion aspect change as you’ve been on the show?
Fashion is such a big part of RuPaul’s Drag Race. So many young kids watch it for inspiration, so many famous designers are fans of the show like Marc Jacobs. It is certainly a huge part of RuPaul’s Drag Race as something that I love about this show and I'm so happy that I get to be a part of it. I think it's just elevated over the years. I think that the entire show continues to get better and better, season by season. And I think the fashion is doing the same.
Do you have a favorite season in terms of fashion?
We’ve certainly had fashion queens who were spectacular like Violet Chachki. I think her season was really a turning point where the fashion queens were getting professional modeling jobs and designers were taking note of what they were wearing. Their drag fashion was really couture. It was custom created just for them with a very high taste level.
I think that was the turning point and certainly every season there’s somebody that was a fashion queen. I think this season Gigi Goode was an example of that. But every season we get a smattering of people who really enjoy clothes and really have an elevated sense. And it’s fun to see people evolve.
You have someone like Trinity the Tuck who was very pageantry on her original season, but when she came back on All Stars her taste level and aesthetic had developed a little bit more and she was wearing what I would call amazing ‘drag fashion.’ It had a couture sensibility where the fit, details, constructions, and materials were top of the line but it still had that drag sense of humor. That sense of humor is what I think makes a great drag look — when you can combine high fashion with a drag twist that has a sense of humor or a sense of social commentary, I think that’s really beyond fabulous.
I would assume that with the judging panel on Drag Race you also develop this sense of family, how did that play out with recording Family Feud with that team?
It's very similar when you work on the show for a long time you become like family with your cast members, you spend so much time on set every day, you meet their kids and their partners, their husbands their wives. And you also have a lot of down time when you're chit-chatting in hair and makeup or on set and you're just finding out about what's going on in their life. And you do create time this family bond. I think that's what's so great about Celebrity Family Feud; the teams that do really well are the ones that really have that family vibe going on, so we definitely had that with the Drag Race family. And I love that we have some of our favorite queens on the panel with us as well.
Was there anyone who surprised you there?
Ru and Michelle are always on it so there was no surprise there, but I thought Latrice and Raven were spectacular. They really showed America what amazing entertainers drag queens are because they had Steve Harvey, eating out of the palm of their well-manicured hands.
Tomorrow is the finale of Drag Race and people have had a lot of opinions about the new virtual format. Do you have any particular thoughts?
I don't know too much about that. I know there's gonna be a fabulous finale and it's gonna go off as planned. You know the producers and the network and everybody want to keep everybody safe and healthy. But, as they say in showbiz,’ The show must go on.’ I know they're going to come up with a really creative and wonderful way to keep our fans who have been so spectacular, engaged, and entertained. And also the crown a queen who deserves it.
Despite a pandemic, we can still have fun and enjoy Drag Race together, even though we have to be alone when we watch it.