‘Queer Eye’ Host Karamo Brown Wants You to Behave Yourself

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Photo Source: Ilana Panich-Linsman/Netflix

Sure, you could find fame by getting your heart broken on “Love Is Blind,” your leg broken on “Survivor,” or your spirit broken on “Hell’s Kitchen.” But Karamo Brown, the culture and lifestyle expert on Netflix’s “Queer Eye” and host of his eponymous talk show, says that in order to have a successful career in reality TV, “you need a plan, and you must be prepared.” 

He should know, considering he made his onscreen debut in the cast of MTV’s “The Real World: Philadelphia” (2004) at the age of 23. A year later, he competed on the network’s “Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II.”

“During and after filming ‘The Real World,’ I felt isolated, and, at times, very depressed,” he recalls. “I was happy to be given the opportunity, but I was not prepared when I learned what some people were saying about me. I felt vulnerable, and I was hurt emotionally.”

Brown took a break from the screen, not appearing again on camera until he was 32. In between, he worked in social services. He eventually returned to college to hone his skills as a TV host, where he learned about an audition for the Oprah Winfrey Network. 

Following his own ride to broader success, Brown shares his thoughts on how to keep things real in the world of reality TV.

Behave yourself.

“Long after the season is over, you will be remembered for how you behaved on camera. What might have seemed trendy and cool at the time may not bode well for your future. So keep that in mind as the cameras are rolling: Your behavior is being noticed.”

Thicken your skin.

“Even the most confident person might be surprised or shocked by the comments written [about them] on social media. One day, you are an average person; the next, you are being talked about by the masses. What might have seemed positive can be quite daunting. No one in this business gets away without the good and the bad. This is part of the experience. Mentally prepare yourself, know the person you are, stay strong, and that will get you through it.”                                 

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

“For some, opportunities could be right around the corner after appearing on a reality series. For others interested in staying on camera, it may not be all that easy. So while you are looking for the next opportunity, also keep yourself occupied doing other things.”

Broaden your horizons.

“I so wanted to get back on television, this time in a hosting capacity. But there were things I needed to learn, and going back to school was part of my plan. Use education to your advantage, and never stop exploring. 

Stay true to who you are.

“As a proud gay man, I was suddenly thrust into parenting when I learned I had a son. [Brown didn’t know he was a father until his son, Jason, was 10 years old.] And through that experience, among so many others in my life, I’ve used that as the backbone of who I am and how I interact with other people. No matter where your path takes you, set your goals, and don’t be afraid to tap into your personal life experiences. Remember…every day is a new day.”