When the Queer Eye reboot came to Netflix in 2018, it was an instant success. This Emmy winning reality TV series follows the Fab Five as they makeover participants both inside and out. The show’s themes of acceptance and self-love resonate with people all over the world, and the original season has been followed by three additional seasons and a special.
Queer Eye‘s food and wine expert, Antoni Porowski, is a sweet, charming man who has caught the attention of many viewers with his good looks and smile. Antoni is much more than a pretty face. He’s an intelligent, insightful co-host who shares his deepest joys and pains with the show’s subjects. While he may not be too forthcoming with detailed stories for his life, he’s hinted at overcoming various struggles to get where he is today.
Below are ten facts about Antoni you wouldn’t know just from watching him on Queer Eye.
10 His Parents Immigrated To Canada From Poland
Antoni was born in Montreal, Canada, but his parents were immigrants from Poland who arrived with his two older sisters. When he was 12, Antoni moved to West Virginia with his parents. He spent a lot of time between West Virginia and Montreal, eventually returning to Montreal for college.
Antoni lives in New York now, but he still stands by his hometown. “Montreal is just so multicultural and ethnic and diverse, and it’s what makes us special,” he shares. “I say ‘us’ like I still live there, but I still do feel like a Montrealer.” In the above picture, he’s seen walking in a parade with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
9 He Speaks Three Languages
Antoni is fluent in French, English, and Polish. His parents spoke Polish at home, and he learned both English and French in school. Montreal is a French and English-speaking city, so Antoni had equal exposure to both languages.
Antoni’s knowledge and intelligence belie his innocent, naive demeanor. When his co-star Tan France first met him, he thought Antoni was way too mild. “He seemed like a nice guy, and I wanted him to get the job, but he had a nervous, shy energy about him and seemed way too sweet and angelic. I couldn’t picture us being friends, as I usually gravitate to folks who are a lot more outgoing than I am.”
Not only are they now best friends, but Tan soon realized that Antoni is not as pure or inexperienced as he may seem upon the first impression.
8 He Once Managed A Sushi Restaurant
When Antoni moved to New York City to pursue acting, he worked odd food and beverage jobs to pay his rent. He worked as both a waiter and a junior sommelier, eventually managing a sushi restaurant on Bond Street.
Meanwhile, he was having a hard time getting acting gigs. His Polish heritage turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing. “It’s usually like, ‘I’m Antoni Porowski, 5’11¾. Here’s Polish Terrorist No. 2,'” he says. “And then you scream when you leave the room, and it’s done. And you never hear back.”
7 He Graduated With A Degree In Psychology
Antoni graduated from an acclaimed university in Montreal: Concordia. While he never became a de facto psychologist, he’s used his educational background to help dozens and dozens of people on Queer Eye, as well as the millions of people who’ve tuned into it.
Antoni is always waxing poetic about emotional openness on the show. “I really enjoy being vulnerable,” he explained, “and it’s how I connect with other people, and part of how I do that is through food, by sharing something that I feel is very intimate and personal because it’s something that I create out of nothing.”
6 He Studied At The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre
When Antoni first moved to New York City to pursue acting, he enrolled in the famous Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, from which he graduated in 2011. If it wasn’t for his background in acting, he would not have landed his role on Queer Eye.
For Antoni, his role on Queer Eye isn’t about impressing people with his cooking skills. It’s about sharing his appreciation of food with wider audiences and applying his acting skills to making the narratives around each subject more compelling. As he stated, “The show is not a vehicle for me to proverbially jerk off my skills. That’s not the purpose of the show.”
5 He Was Once The Personal Assistant Of Ted Allen, Star Of The Original Queer Eye
Antoni met the original Queer Eye‘s cooking expert Ted Allen, who launched a successful career as a celebrity chef, at a book signing. Allen hired Antoni as his personal assistant and served as a mentor for him.
When Antoni heard about auditions for the Queer Eye reboot, he reached out to Ted. “He’s like, ‘Antoni, do you really want to do this?'” He recalled.”I was like, ‘I don’t know, but I think that I should try.'” Allen made some phone calls, and after going through the audition process, Antoni was selected.
4 He Makes An Appearance In Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down” Music Video
Long before he became a queer superstar, Antoni auditioned for Taylor Swift’s “Black Space” music video. He did not, unfortunately, get the part. All that’s in the past now, though, and Antoni, along with Jonathan, Bobby, and Karamo, starred in her music video “You Need To Calm Down.”
Antoni and Taylor are good friends now, too. He made an appearance at her 2019 Friendsgiving, a friend-based alternative to a family Thanksgiving.
3 He Has Never Publically Labeled His Sexuality
“Today I’m gay, I’m in a gay relationship, and that’s where I am. That’s good enough for me,” Antoni has said in the past about his relationship status. Unlike the rest of the Fab Five, he has never labeled himself gay.
He’s made his stance on labels clear. “I’ve always considered myself a little more fluid along the spectrum. So even being called bisexual… I remember, in my early twenties, I was like, ‘But bisexual means I can only like girls and guys. What if I like something else?'”
2 He Has Struggled With Depression And Addiction Issues In The Past
Antoni has been a bit reticent to go into great detail about his past struggles on Queer Eye, but he has hinted at problems with addiction and mental health. He has finally acknowledged his struggles with anxiety to the press.
As his celebrity status grows, his anxiety has grown along with it. Antoni has stated he gets peace of mind knowing other people suffer from anxiety. To curb these more negative tendencies, he eats healthy, sleeps well, and avoids caffeine. Still, he knows that indulging every now and then is good, too. “I’m definitely more of an extreme eater. I’m decadent on weekends and try to go plant-based during the week,” he stressed.
1 His Favorite Comfort Food Is Cheese
Antoni loves cheese. As the food and wine expert on Queer Eye, his goal is to teach subjects to have healthy, non-toxic relationships with food. Snacking on or enjoying decadent foods is totally admissible, but it’s all based on maintaining healthy boundaries.
Antoni loves cheese so much he won’t shut up about it. “A cheese dip is good – it’s for when you’re like, ‘You know what, I’ve had a long day,” he declared. “I’m just gonna eat a big bowl of cheese, and I’m not gonna care about it.'”