All 16 Queer Eye makeovers ranked (so yes, get the tissues)

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Queer Eye season 1 episode 4 production photo. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

3. AJ, “To Gay or Not Too Gay”, (S1, E4)

The 2018 Queer Eye reboot had a lot of firsts. I just discussed the Fab Five’s first female hero, Tammye, and our next entry is another first: the first gay makeover.

AJ was nominated by his best friend Al so that the Fab Five can help this 32-year-old get his life in order. He’s a civil engineer with a great job, has a great boyfriend, and also has a great apartment. But he keeps his sexuality private at work and to his family, and his house is a disaster. The self-proclaimed “Straightest Gay Guy in Atlanta” is not very stylish, according to his bestie Al, and is self-conscious about looking “too gay” in public.

He regrets never coming out to his father before his passing, so he wants the Fab Five to help him come out to his stepmom now that things are getting serious with his boyfriend.

AJ’s apartment can be summed up with one statement: “What in gay hell?!” He has clothes and junk aaaaall over his bed, so he sleeps on the couch. His apartment is messy and cluttered, but the exposed brick and cool gadgets (and a swing in the living room) proved that the apartment had serious potential. AJ may seem like a real square and doesn’t want to be seen as too gay, but this boy has a dirty side, judging by the leather harness he pulls out of his closet. Leather daddy realness, come through!

Let’s be honest, AJ is already a very handsome man, but his lack of confidence is obvious by his overgrown beard and hair. When Jonathan brings him to the barber shop, he comes out looking, for lack of a better term, sexy AF! He can’t stop smiling, which is always a good start, and the neatly trimmed beard and fade are such an improvement.

The usually reserved AJ can’t stop screaming when they reveal what Bobby did to his apartment. Gone is the clutter and mess, and he finally has a functional bedroom, with a huge closet and plenty of storage space. Like most of the makeovers, though, it’s not just how great he looks after a haircut or how stylish his apartment turned out.

AJ has a teary heart to heart with Karamo about his sexuality and being a strong, confident, gay, black man, something that AJ struggles with. This episode is really what solidified the success of the reboot. Discussing the toxic masculinity in the black community and the struggles that queer people of color face is so often overlooked in the media, but this episode dove head first into the issue, with tact and heart.

The coming out scene with his stepmother is arguably one of the most emotional moments in the entire series so far, and the thought of young, queer people of color seeing that kind of acceptance in their community makes it that much more significant.

Plus, AJ modeling his leather harness? Oof, is it hot in here or…?