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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Carson Kressley, Thom Filicia

Aired August 6, 2003 - 19:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: If you haven't heard about "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," I don't know where you've been. It's the latest sleeper hit reality TV show. Only in this show it's about five guys who are out to change the reality of another guy. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): The premise of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" is simple -- five gay men with great taste help make over one straight man whose taste is, well, undeveloped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says they have a kosher kitchen. I wonder if they have a kosher closet, like if it's all just Isaac Mizrahi.

COOPER: That's Carson. The fashion guru.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you get this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: K-Mart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone -- don't use that kind of language around me.

COOPER: Carson may know couture, but he's not so up to date with some aspects of culture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you look to as your fashion role model?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have to say Tim McGraw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tim McGraw?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allan Jackson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Allan Jackson. Are they televangelists?

COOPER: That's Thom, the interior design expert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't own anything except a boomerang.

COOPER: The apartments he has to transform are downright dismal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he retarded?

COOPER: The other members of the fab five, as they call themselves, take care of everything else, from culture to grooming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a big fan of the shampoo/conditioner all in one scenario.

COOPER: There's even a food expert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what do you like to cook? .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steak and eggs. Stuffed peppers. Lasagna. And then you got to get your grits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grits?

COOPER: What audiences like about the show, besides its sharp tongued humor, is that it rarely comes across as mean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she doesn't marry you, you get to marry one of the five of us. Isn't that great? So it's a win-win situation.

COOPER: Straight men end up looking great, and their wives or girlfriends seem happy as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow, I can't believe this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They cleaned this up a little.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god!

COOPER: Bravo, the network that airs "Queer Eye" is perhaps happiest of all. The show is a hit. The highest rated series they've ever aired.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And joining me now are a terrific two of the fab five, design doctor Thom Filicia, and fashion savant Carson Kressley. Thanks for being with us.

THOM FILICIA, "QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY": Thanks for having us.

COOPER: You can't imagine the excitement in the building when word filtered out you that you guys were coming on tonight.

CARSON KRESSLEY, "QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY": That's so bizarre.

FILICIA: We're not Janet Reno.

KRESSLEY: Thom looks like her before the makeup. I dress like her. COOPER: I imagine your lives have just completely changed. This thing is a huge hit. The audiences -- I mean, more and more people are watching it every week. You have -- you have a design firm.

FILICIA: I do, in New York.

COOPER: And you were actually sort of stuck in an elevator with someone, and that's how you got the job?

FILICIA: Yes, I was stuck in the elevator in my office building in Soho for about 45 minutes with a talent manager, and we just got to talking.

COOPER: You really come to know someone when you're stuck in an elevator. You really do.

FILICIA: About 45 minutes with my dog and about three other people, taking out the roof of the elevator with the fire department. And she...

KRESSLEY: If the fire department gets involved, then it's really a party.

FILICIA: It was a party. It's not a party until the fire department shows up.

COOPER: And how did you get involved?

KRESSLEY: One of my coworkers at Ralph Lauren heard about the show in a cab on the radio, and called me up when she got back to the office, said, "Carson, you have to call Bravo. They're doing a show. You're perfect for it." So I made some phone calls, called Bravo, and they're like, we don't know what you're talking about. I made some more calls, and finally hooked up with a production company.

COOPER: You're looking stylish here. The feet surprise me, though.

KRESSLEY: Yes, little flip-flops.

COOPER: Sure.

KRESSLEY: You know, I like to -- you know, I'm taking like, you know, couture here, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) suit, Ralph Lauren purple label, throw on a flip-flop, makes it fun.

COOPER: The key to the show, it doesn't come off as mean, which I think maybe a lot of people anticipated, that's probably very important for both of you.

FILICIA: Absolutely. Yes. We certainly don't want...

KRESSLEY: We think mean people suck.

FILICIA: Yes, we do. Mean people are no fun. No, that's not at all where we're coming from. When we first sort of break in or bust into the house, if you will, it is -- there's some tough love.

KRESSLEY: The shock and awe, and there's some tough love. We tell them things they probably don't want to hear.

COOPER: Shock and awe, you brushed up on your news.

KRESSLEY: We did. Yes. We're all fired up.

FILICIA: But it's -- when we go in, that's sort of our -- that's our way of sort of connecting with him. We're as self-deprecating about ourselves as we are laughing at ourselves, as well as laughing at him.

COOPER: Do you find that people actually -- I mean, that their lives are changed, that the style really sticks?

FILICIA: Absolutely.

COOPER: That the apartments stay looking great and the clothes remain?

KRESSLEY: Well, I hope so.

FILICIA: We haven't done any drive-by inspections on the apartments. We haven't peaked in any windows.

KRESSLEY: But we have seen a couple of guys at our premiere...

FILICIA: At premieres and out on the street.

KRESSLEY: And running into them just in the city, and they're totally -- they've embraced it, they love it. They really -- they wanted to make the change. That's kind of why they called us. Aside from the free couch.

COOPER: The stuff they get is amazing.

FILICIA: It's amazing.

KRESSLEY: Amazing stuff.

FILICIA: And I think -- they're very excited about it, very excited about the change.

KRESSLEY: It's also very doable. We call it a make better show, because we're not going to make them over and totally change them and give them things that don't really apply to their lives.

COOPER: Let me ask each of you, have you had one that's really stood out that was your favorite episode?

KRESSLEY: I think John was pretty amazing.

FILICIA: I think John had a great conclusion.

COOPER: That was the guy who wanted to get married. KRESSLEY: Right.

FILICIA: Get together, get engaged.

COOPER: And he cried at the end?

KRESSLEY: He did.

FILICIA: Well, right when we were leaving.

KRESSLEY: When we were going to leave.

FILICIA: When we were leaving, he got a little choked up. Which, you know, we always sort of feel that way when we're leaving.

COOPER: This is it right here. There it is. So now, I know -- when you're a fashion expert as you are, do you find yourself sort of constantly looking at everyone and thinking at least internally about what they should do better? I know you mentioned to me I should wear a little...

KRESSLEY: A little pocket square.

COOPER: A little pocket square.

KRESSLEY: Sometimes I do, sometimes I'm at the deli getting coffee, and I look down, and I'm, oh, no, you didn't. I tap them on the shoulder, give them a little friendly advice, and they usually call the police.

COOPER: Because I know we got some pictures of some various world leaders that we wanted you to sort of give some advice to, both of you.

FILICIA: Oh, good.

COOPER: I think the first one is a well-known fashion expert, Kim Jong-Il, leader of North Korea.

KRESSLEY: I love his nuclear arms are covered. He's not wearing anything sleeveless, which is good for him. Dictator goes to the airport.

FILICIA: It actually -- that sort of like two-piece jump-suits things sort of look like -- if you took the general, or whoever the other guy is, it looks like he's waiving from the side of a carnival cruise, like bon voyage.

KRESSLEY: Yes, they're off to Sri Lanka for the weekend.

COOPER: I think the next one we have is Vice President Dick Cheney. I think we have a photo of him for you to...

KRESSLEY: Everyone loves Dick, don't they?

FILICIA: Yes. KRESSLEY: Dick Cheney -- you know, I think if he would just sort of update his glasses -- he's a little solid looking. He's got a little bit of a belly. I would say, hey, Dick, let's see more of your personality, wear some color, spice it up a little bit.

COOPER: All right, finally, let's take a look at everyone's favorite, Michael Jackson.

KRESSLEY: Oh, God. I thought it was Tony Blair for a second. Tony's really turning it out.

FILICIA: Tony is looking good these days. I think the waterproof clothing is really helping. That's -- yeah, that was...

COOPER: I think that's sort of beyond -- I don't know...

FILICIA: That's a moment in time..

KRESSLEY: Beyond Beyonce even.

COOPER: Beyond Beyonce?

Thom, any ideas for the set here? I'm not sure what the set is really ...

FILICIA: I have to say, I think actually, the set looks great. When you're watching on television, it looks great. It's very cool in person. It's kind of like "Battlestar Galactica" meets like the Italian furniture fair.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: That's funny, because that is the look they were going for.

FILICIA: Is it?

COOPER: Yes.

FILICIA: I think I would get rid of what I would call the chicklet sofa pillows. But other than that, I think -- does it work for you? I mean, that's the most important. How does it work?

COOPER: We can lose the pillows. That's no problem.

FILICIA: All righty.

COOPER: I'm a huge fan of the show, and I appreciate you both coming in.

KRESSLEY: We're a huge fan of yours.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I bet you say that to all the hosts.

KRESSLEY: I'm a real news junky. I can't get enough of that Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali.

COOPER: He's no longer, you know, running the U.N., but that's all right.

KRESSLEY: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

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