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Who Pays For Stuff On 'Queer Eye'? The Truth Behind The Netflix Show

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Who Pays For Stuff On 'Queer Eye'? The Truth Behind The Netflix Show

Part of the reason watching Queer Eye is so much fun (other than Jonathan Van Ness, of course) is watching the total transformation of someone's life, from their wardrobe to their cooking skills to their home. As the show says, it's 'more than a makeover' — and it really is! The Fab Five change so many things about a person's life both internally and externally, but seeing those home renovations and style makeovers really make us nervous about what the price tag looks like at the end.

Considering most of the heroes featured on the show are everyday people, it doesn't seem like they can afford a whole house of new furniture or a whole closet full of brand new clothes. It really has us wondering who ends up picking up the tab. 

Who pays for stuff on Queer Eye?

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The good news: the heroes don't pay for any of it themselves. 


A post shared by Queer Eye (@queereye) on Jul 13, 2020 at 8:01am PDT

The good news: Wherever the money comes from, it isn't from the pockets of the people the Fab Five are helping — how unfair would that be? In an interview, the guys explained that while they aren't sure how it all works, it doesn't cost their subjects anything to be on the show.

"We don't make our heroes pay for that," Tan France confirmed, while Karamo Brown added, "They get everything for free." 

Product placement is key.

Brands are routinely advertised on Queer Eye. When France takes a hero to shop for clothes, it's clear what store they're at, like when he's taken the episode's star to shop at an Old Navy, which offers invaluable advertising for the brands featured. And one fan on Reddit hypothesizes that product placement helps pay for the costs of the makeovers. That is, a brand may often provide clothing or home decor for free in exchange for brand placement on the show.

IKEA may donate furniture.

Though this hasn't been confirmed, another fan shared that they noticed a lot of the furniture comes from IKEA, so it's possible that the furniture chain donates products or has some sort of deal with Netflix and/or Queer Eye, which would certainly help cut down on a lot of the costs of making the renovations come to life. 

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It may come from the show's budget.

Every TV show has a filming budget, and there's a good chance that much of the work the guys do (and what they spend) is paid for with that. After all, Bobby Burke doesn't do all the renovations and home improvements alone — he also has a team working with them, and they likely get paid to their jobs on the show. 

The Fab Five tries to choose accessible places to shop for its heroes.


A post shared by Queer Eye (@queereye) on May 14, 2020 at 10:30am PDT

In an interview, France explained that he only takes the heroes to places that are accessible to them (and the wider Queer Eye audience) so that they can continue to shop there to keep up with the changes the Fab Five makes while staying within their own budgets.

“What we did, and a main goal of mine is to make sure that I’m showing options that are accessible and attainable for everyone," France said, adding, "I never took anyone to a designer store, I never spent $100 on any item other than outerwear or maybe footwear, which always costs a lot more. So I do all I can to make sure that it’s something that will connect with the wider audience."

There's no official answer to this question from Netflix. 

So far, Netflix has never revealed where the money comes from, so we may never have a clear cut answer to this question. What's most important is that it doesn't cost anyone a dime to get help from the Fab Five, which is what we like to hear. Now, we just need to know if we can nominate ourselves for the show... 

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.