A few lucky ladies and gentlemen got to elevate their brunch game this weekend by spending their morning with Antoni Porowski.
The food and wine expert on Netflix's "Queer Eye" series joined comedian Michelle Buteau at Washington's Eaton Hotel on Sunday to teach Bentzen Ball attendees how to create a perfect bloody mary and ginger carrot salad (shockingly, the avocado king did not incorporate any).
Porowski, dressed in a leather jacket that appropriately had "thyme is on my side" scrawled across the back, had his Juul in hand (his favourite flavour is mint, but he insists "it's a horrible habit") as he sat down to chat with us about the divided political climate - and his deep love of corgis.
Q: As a fellow corgi enthusiast, do you follow the Instagram account @corgibutts_ ?
A: I'm not familiar with this one, and I follow a lot of them! That's adorable.
Q: How did you get involved with Whitman-Walker Health, the organization specializing in healthcare for LGBTQ and HIV-positive communities, which this brunch benefits?
A: Full disclosure, I actually did not know that they existed until I came here. Just knowing that there's a foundation that focuses on this predominantly . . . it's something that we need more of. They're a great example and the fact that they've been around for 40 years, like if you imagine being them being around in - I'm terrible at math - but like, just post-AIDS crisis? It's pretty crazy that they've been there for so long. And that's what's kind of amazing about the platform that I've been given. I get to learn about these different foundations that I otherwise probably would have been totally ignorant to. And it forces me to learn and continue being a student. So I think it's awesome.
Q: Many people today expressed the "I didn't know I needed this show until I saw it" sentiment about "Queer Eye" (QE). Do you consciously try to make the show a cultural commentary?
I think when we think about that stuff too much, it's the stuff that doesn't work. Sort of like when one of us tries a one-liner. It's the things that come out organically and naturally . . . like the conversation between Jonathan [Van Ness, QE grooming aficionado} and Bobby [Berk, QE design specialist] when they were in the back of [show participant] Tom Jackson's car and he asked, "Well who's the man and who's the woman?" [in a same-sex relationship]. Those were actually really important conversations to have that came up in an organic sense in the nature of being in the car. That's where you can have the Black Lives Matter talk that Karamo [Brown, QE culture expert] had with the cop, Cory.
So, yeah, we try not to focus on that too much. We try to keep it as simple as possible and know that our time is limited. What's the most important thing we can address with this person to make sure that when we leave, they really latch on to some kind of knowledge? Or not necessarily knowledge, because we learn from them just as much - and sometimes even more - but just trying to help people to see the possibility of thinking about things a little differently and being a little more open-minded to a different way of life or being.
Q: "Queer Eye" often features subjects - the show refers to them as "heroes" - who don't share your political or ideological values. Has that ever been especially trying?
A: This is a testament to our casting department, who are four incredible women who just won an Emmy. They find heroes who are open-minded enough to be willing to allow us to step into their lives and completely take over. They could have made it more like what reality TV is traditionally, where there's more of that conflict and where it's like, "I don't agree with you, I'm going to throw a glass of wine in your face," but that's not what the show is about.
They can have those thoughts, but there are other things [to prioritize], like we need to figure out how to help them become better parents. It's more on an individual level, and that's where the seed is for change, because we're so freaking polarized and we're so on opposite ends that it's really about meeting in the middle and realizing we have to figure this out and work together somehow.
Q: Given the opportunity, would you ever cook for President Donald Trump? What would you prepare?
A: I'm going to quote Ina [Garten]: "Give him a subpoena."