From the first discussion of police brutality, Netflix's Queer Eye reboot made it clear isn't the Queer Eye that came before it.
While Netflix's Queer Eye reboot is as heartfelt and charming as its predecessor, releasing a series about five openly gay men traveling to the Deep South in 2018 feels like an overt political statement, as does its discussion of Black Lives Matter and the growing sociopolitical divide.
But Fab Five member and fashion expert Tan France revealed to PopCulture.com exclusively that the show wasn't explicitly trying to be political with the reboot of the iconic gay show.
"We never chose to make it political," he said. "We never planned on this being a political show, but just based on the nature of who we are and how vocal we are, it was bound to be political."
"We're five incredibly opinionated gay men and you can't shut us up," he continued.
The show, which stars a new, more diverse Fab Five performing makeover miracles in the red states of the U.S., was an interesting challenge for France, who himself grew up in a small conservative town.
“I welcomed the opportunity to go to the South," he said, adding that if the reboot was filmed in New York City like the original series, "I don’t think it would have been as appealing a prospect to me, because not only do I want to make guys look pretty, I want to talk to people about my real gay life...to be able to meet in the middle,” he added.
And while there were some nerves about bringing the Fab Five to more traditionally more conservative parts of the U.S., France said he was pleasantly surprised with his experience in the south — acknowledging that his British accent oddly enough often puts him in a place of privilege when dealing with Americans. ("We're not all the Royals," he joked.)
“I was expecting it to be worse than it was," France told PopCulture.com exclusively. "I thought we would get heckled and people would say homophobic things, but the reputation that the south is very hospitable and super friendly ... that’s the only south I saw.”
One of the most memorable — and most uncomfortable — moments in the Queer Eye reboot was when the Fab Five were pulled over by police, and France and culture expert Karamo Brown were given a platform about which to talk about police brutality as it relates to people of color as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
And while the lights and sirens turned out to be a larger part of the makeover, France says the Fab Five's fear was real.
It's these overarching moments, France says, that makes the show more than a fun makeover series.
“I want people to understand that this is not gay niche show, it’s a show for everyone," he said. "It’s not a show where we’re trying to convert you, it’s a show where we’re trying to bridge gaps."
Queer Eye is available on Netflix now.
Photo credit: Netflix