Carson Kressley stole our hearts when he splashed on the scene in 2002 as a fashionable fixture on Queer Eye for The Straight Guy. But before his big TV break, he worked his way up the fashion ranks starting as an executive personal assistant at Ralph Lauren. He has one heckuva resume, y’all.
We recently sat down with the TV star in our Dallas studio while he was in town to learn about his childhood, early career, climb to fame and how he balances it all — with style and humor. Tune into this hilarious episode to learn the backstory and some serious small biz skill from this fun-loving style setter.
Take us back to the early days – where did you grow up? I grew up outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania in a very rural area. We were almost Amish – we didn’t go full hardcore Amish with no cars, no electric but it was pretty close. I have a very conservative background. My grandparents had a pony farm – which is pretty gay – so I was like, okay, let’s roll with this! We always had a couple hundred ponies. And I grew up going to horse shows and really haven’t not had a horse since. It was a really wholesome childhood and I’m very grateful for it. I actually just bought a farm out there!
You moved to New York after graduating college, worked your way up at one of the biggest names in fashion and then eventually pitched yourself for Queer Eye… Would you say you’re a hustler? Uhhh I’d say a hustler is a bit aggressive – I would call myself a dreamer and a do-er. I have this ignorance is bliss thing. If someone said now that I could go work for Ralph Lauren, I’d say “oh I’m not qualified for that” but when I was younger I thought I could do anything. I’ve always thought… you just say yes, and you take the opportunity and you figure it out later.
Do you have any business advice that you love to give? Whether it be in business, show biz or even personal life, the biggest thing that has been so important to me is authenticity. There is so much stuff out there — so much noise — you really need to have a unique take on something. Have your own point of view. Be you. That’s the only thing that separates you from the masses. And do what you love!
Do you set goals for yourself? I’m a big believer in that old saying “make plans and God laughs.” I try to take advantage of every opportunity. I’m very proactive and I learned that at Ralph Lauren. We were always very forward thinking and I always try to follow that.
What’s on your bucket list for your career or personal life? Besides marrying Zac Efron… I would love to do a daytime talk show about style and entertaining. Something light; there is so much bad news out there. I also love designing spaces – oh, I’d love to design a hotel!
Don’t miss Carson’s podcast. It’s so good! Check it out along with other Fridays with Flea Style episodes on iTunes here. Want to nominate somebody to be a guest on our show or have a question for Brittany to answer? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!