The Fab Five of Netflix’s Queer Eye help open kindhearted people’s eyes to their priceless value as individuals. Each episode is seasoned with some sort of pep talk about caring for or believing in oneself, and the Queer Eye guys really are experts. Not only do the Fab Five exude confidence and self love, but they also appreciate each other and want each other to be their best selves. It might not come as a huge surprise then that the Queer Eye cast members made sure they each received equal pay for the Netflix show.
Hair and grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness recently told Wealthsimple, "When the boys and I were cast we banded together and made sure we got paid the same thing. I’m really into that part of our story." While discussing the decision to remain transparent about salaries amongst themselves, Van Ness provided a totally logical explanation. "We’re homies. We’d all feel so resentful if one of us was getting more or less than the others. It would create a very, like, not cool work environment," Van Ness said. The long-haired beauty expert is probably right that receiving varied salaries could make things more difficult among the Fab Five, which also includes Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Tan France, and Antoni Porowski.
Without worrying about what each cast member is paid, the Queer Eye team can focus their energy towards different conflicts, like a man’s ill-fitting wardrobe that’s still from the ’90s.
As sensible as the Queer Eye guys’ choice to keep their salaries equal is, it’s still a relatively unprecedented move. The cast members could have easily accepted different salaries based on their previous experience, levels of expertise, camera time, or other factors. Really, the fact that they chose to forego that potentially messy situation reaffirms what everyone already loves about Queer Eye: that life is not about how much a person makes or what they do, but it’s how they make others feel that’s important.
The fact that the Fab Five exemplify the lessons they preach to their makeover subjects just makes Queer Eye even more lovable. They’re also setting an example that has the potential to change the way networks discern cast members’ paychecks.
These days, it’s not uncommon to hear about a ridiculous pay disparity between men and women on TV shows or movies — both on Netflix and off. One of the most memorable examples of a show’s inequitable pay occurred March when news broke that Claire Foy was paid less than Matt Smith for their roles on The Crown. Foy played Queen Elizabeth II, while Smith played Prince Phillip. An equal paycheck would have sufficed, but most people agreed that Foy deserved to get paid more than Smith, considering that her role was greater on the Netflix series — she was the Queen, for heaven’s sake.
Fortunately, all of the queens of Queer Eye got the paycheck discussion over with before they even started filming. It also sounds like they might have negotiated together, and hopefully a few of them are earning more than they would have had the Fab Five not talked paychecks together. Talk about team work.
Oftentimes cast mates of TV shows or movies end up receiving seriously unfair pay when they don’t know about their co-stars’ salaries. Salary transparency can have a meaningful impact on bridging pay disparities between men and women, and a study conducted by Cornell University reveals that salary transparency leads to improved performance at work. The Queer Eye guys definitely perform well, and maybe the fact that they know they’re each equally compensated has a lot to do with that. They definitely don’t have to compete with each other throughout the show, and that makes Queer Eye a more enjoyable experience for all.
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