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Published on 27th March 2019

Spring clean ‘Queer Eye’ style

Access this article on the Baylor Lariat website here.

By Madalyn Watson | Staff Writer

It’s that time of year, again. As the school work and stress pile up, clothes and junk begin to pile up in student’s dormitories or apartments as well.

I took my few days of solitude and relaxation during spring break to binge watch the third season of “Queer Eye” and tidy up my apartment.

As I diligently scrubbed my kitchen clean and sectioned out my clothing into keep, sell and donate sections, I learned from the members of the Fab Five that my efforts may not be enough.

For those who are unfamiliar with Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” it’s a reboot of the Bravo reality television series, originally titled “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” that follows a very similar format.

Five fabulous gay men — teamed up to form the Fab Five — visit a nominee’s home and each revamp a different part of their life: their wardrobe, interior design, cooking skills, grooming and culture.

Almost every single episode of the reboot has left me with tears streaming down my face and inspires me to be a better version of myself, and the newest season is no different.

However, this time I decided to turn the motivation into action. I tried to change a part of my life in each of the categories that the television show focuses on in order to better my mental health for those last few strides towards the end of the school year.

Wardrobe

In most episodes of Queer Eye, Tan France, the fashion expert, gets rid of the majority of the nominee’s clothing to help them start with a clean slate and buys them a whole new wardrobe that still reflects their style and personality.

I, however, would not want and cannot afford to do that to my closet. I believe that Tan would, at the very least, not cringe at the way I dress.

Instead, I sold or donated all the clothing items I had not worn since beginning college (which was surprisingly a lot) as well as clothes I felt I had too much of and clothes that had shrunken in the wash or had random tears or stains.

I sold a lot of my clothes, that were still trendy, to a new and recycled clothing chain called Buffalo Exchange. The chain has not yet reached Waco, but there are locations in bigger cities like Houston and Dallas.

If you’re not wanting to travel to make a profit on your used, trendy clothing, I would also suggest apps like Poshmark and Depop, which are digital marketplaces where you can buy and sell used and vintage clothing.

Interior Design

It’s difficult for college students, especially those that live on a budget and in on-campus housing like myself, to change their living space like the designs created by Bobby Berk, the design expert.

Somehow, I still found ways to change up my bedroom so that it’s a better environment for studying and relaxing.

First of all, I bought a few extra baskets to store under my bed and on the top shelf of my closet. I organized them by socks, T-shirts, sweatshirts and other clothes that cluttered my closet and drawers, which made it easier to find certain things while getting ready in the morning.

Also, I used Command Strips and removable mounting putty to hang the newspaper articles and essays that I’m most proud of on the wall across from my desk. This way, when I’m losing motivation to continue to work or study, I am instantly reminded of how good it feels to put a lot of effort into work and produce something that makes me proud.

Food

Antoni Porowski, the food and wine expert, always makes an effort to teach the contestants on the show recipes that will work with their culinary skills, tastes and busy schedules.

I have always wanted to eat healthier, but after nearly two years at Baylor, my diet is nearly restricted to boxed macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and frozen curry meals.

So I sought out my friend’s mother’s simple recipe for spaghetti sauce and adapted it to fit my budget. I start with a little garlic and olive oil in a pot, add some diced tomatoes and mushrooms and then a jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce — salt to taste.

It’s simple and quick, but it adds variety to my diet and forces me to eat out less (therefore, saving me money).

Another quick meal I added to the rotation was packaged, pre-made curry that I could heat up in a pot and pour over some rice. This way I’m eating less frozen meals.

Grooming

I wish I could say that Jonathan Van Ness, the grooming expert, cut and styled my hair for this section, but I was limited to my own skills.

While cleaning out and reorganizing all the beauty products I have bought, been gifted and collected over the years, I found a hidden stockpile of face masks.

I decided to test them out, semi-regularly so they would not destroy my skin, and I made a list of the ones that made a noticeable change in my skin. I noted whether they succeeded at brightening, moisturizing or clearing up my blemishes.

I am keeping the list for when I have the money in my budget to buy more beauty products or for when my mom takes me shopping or asks me what I want for my birthday.

Jonathan also teaches simple recipes for face masks on “Queer Eye.” Although he doesn’t share exact measurements, one of them consists of oats ground up in a food processor and Manuka honey. Any honey that’s not heavily loaded with chemical fillers works in its place.

I plan to test this recipe out when I run out of my arsenal of rediscovered face masks.

Culture

Many people, like myself, might have thought: How does Karamo Brown, the expert in culture and lifestyle, teach someone culture?

After watching and rewatching all the episodes, I realized it is just a category that mindfulness, confidence, self-awareness and mental health is lumped under.

In many episodes, Karamo encourages people to take care of and love themselves and teaches them strategies to remind themselves to do that.

I have been working on maintaining my mental health and self-confidence my whole life, but sometimes I forget when I am overwhelmed with my classes, work and organizations.

Students, like me, should take some time to themselves, even if it’s just listening to their favorite music and going for a quick walk around campus. They should make an intention to enjoy their time at Baylor and the things that make them happy.

All of the members of the Fab Five work together to help a contestant be the best version of themselves they can be, and students at Baylor should take note of that. Even if their reminder is more subtle than five fabulous gay guys knocking on their door.



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