Designer Bobby Berk chatted with Netflix Life to discuss work from home tips, how to make the holiday season magical, and the future of Queer Eye.
For fans of Netflix’s Queer Eye, the Fab Five’s Bobby Berk has instantly become an icon in everything home decor. For five seasons (plus a special in Japan), Berk, along with Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, Tan France and Jonathan Van Ness, has been raising vibes, teaching people to love themselves and changing people’s lives for the better. And now, Berk is taking his act online and helping others out so they can live their best lives too.
With the challenges of a pandemic, especially, so many people’s lives have been affected, from careers and relationships to everything in between. And on top of that, the home has now become a central hub for getting just about everything done.
So how can one balance the at-home life and save money by doing it? Bobby Berk has a few ideas, and he’s teamed up with PayPal to make it happen with Pay in 4, a way to shop now and pay later so you can get all your at-home needs (and even gifts for the holiday) right away. Check out the trailer for his miniseries called Berking From Home on YouTube below. And then keep reading for our interview with Bobby Berk to hear what his best W.F.H. tips are and if Queer Eye could ever be a virtual show.
Interview with Bobby Berk
Netflix Life: We are going through interesting times, and of course, we’re spending more time indoors and our spaces now have to be everything. What are some simple tricks that you have for optimizing our spaces to be our home office and sometimes our gym and all these other spaces?
#1. Noise-canceling headphones
Bobby Berk: So one of my first recommendations is always noise-canceling headphones. Because no matter what space you’re having to work in your home, you can kind of make that space your own and tune everything else in your house out.
#2. Good lighting
Also good lighting. Often people think, “Oh, when I’m on a Zoom, the lower the lighting, the better because people can see me as well.” But lower lighting actually makes you look worse. Evenly lighting yourself with a good ring light or a desk lamp with a fabric shade that diffuses the light — don’t get one where the bowl is like directly in your face because that’s too harsh — will actually make your skin look better. It’ll make everything look even. You know, that overhead light is what’s giving you those dark circles. You don’t actually have them, that’s literally just the shadow of your eyebrows!
#3. A good chair
Also, make sure you get a good chair. And it doesn’t have to be [an] office chair. It can be a good, stylish chair, but it just needs to support you. So many of my friends in their 20s, 30s, 40s, they’re all getting these horrible back issues that we normally shouldn’t be having at this age. Because we’re curled up on a sofa with our laptop or our iPads or in bed working. We’re not sitting at a structured space all day. And we need to make sure we have that structure for our body to make it.
#4. A projector
For schooling from home, something that I recommend is those little projectors. They’re like this big now; they can literally fit in your pocket. And instead of having your kids stare at screens all day, which they were probably doing even before this, projecting up their lessons on the wall, you connect it to your phone via Bluetooth [and] will have them using pencil and paper instead of just looking at a screen all day. And it will break things up for them; it’s easier on their eyes. It’s just overall old school and better.
#5. A multi-functional powerstrip
Also, getting a good powerstrip with the USB ports and everything in it keeps your cords organized. In the beginning, my cords were kind of all over the place. My earbuds, my iPhone charger, the lamp. And you get up and you snag it on your foot and you knock everything off your desk and you spill your coffee. And so, I got a good power strip that stays on one side of the desk, it keeps all my cords organized and keeps me from tripping on them and going insane!
Netflix Life: Also, as we are approaching the holidays, there are additional ways to spruce up your home and make it feel cozier. What are some tips you have for the holiday season?
Bobby Berk: Well you know, for me, it doesn’t necessarily fall into design as much as the holiday spirit. You know, because everything is so different right now. We’re not probably getting to have those big holiday dinners with family and friends. So I find that keeping some of the same holiday traditions that you normally do with people is just as important, but more important than it normally is.
My mom and I used to always bake cookies together. And then we did when friends and family would come over; we’d send them all home with a plate of cookies. And that was the gift. And this year, obviously we’re not having people over. So I went out, and I got one of those big stand mixers so I can make a lot of cookies at once. And I’m shipping cookies to all the friends and family who would normally come get them. So for me, it’s keeping up that holiday tradition that’s making things feel a little more normal than they have been recently. But it’s also my way to connect with those friends and family that I’m not going to get to.
I love that! I also wanted to talk about Queer Eye because we’re all big fans here. And I’ve always wondered for each person, what’s the hardest part about their job. So what has been one of the more challenging aspects or challenging moments for you in Queer Eye so far?
Time is always a huge challenge for me in my area on the show. I get the house on a Tuesday, and I have to have it back by Friday afternoon. So it’s knocking things out as quickly as possible. And those things that throw wrenches in time. Like, I remember the Joey Greene episode, which was the kids’ camp episode. There was a big storm in the middle of the week and it knocked powerlines down. So we had no electricity. So we were painting via flashlight and iPhone flashlights.
And you know, there was another one, the mayor in Georgia, I think it was season 2, we found a huge termite infestation when we were doing things, and so we had to deal with that on top of the fact that all the furniture that had been ordered that week didn’t show up. And so we also had to frantically run around town and beg stores to let us take furniture off of their floors and yeah. Yeah. So there’s always some fun things that you guys don’t really get to see on camera because it’s not a design show.
Well, maybe we can beg them for a full design show! But lastly, because we are dealing with this pandemic, a lot of this is people working from home, and a lot of people are even doing some of their shows from home and online. Has there been a discussion about possibly doing Queer Eye remotely? Would you all be able to pull that off?
Honestly, I don’t think you’d want to. It’d be a very different show. You know, our show is all about not just the words that we use to try to help our heroes but the healing physical touch, the hugs, you know, the closeness. That connection that we have, which is, I know lot of shows have gotten back to work, but they’re on closed sets. It’s the same crew, it’s the same location every single day.
Whereas ours, we’re in a different location. Sometimes we’re in four or five locations a day, and that’s every single week we’re dealing with the public and literally thousands of people during the week that we’re dealing and interacting with, whether on or off camera. So it’s just, it’s not safe. And I think it would be a very different show. And honestly, I don’t think it would be a very interesting show to try to do it virtually. So that’s why we’re holding off. We’re definitely coming back. We’ll just be waiting until a little bit earlier in the year. Now that there’s a vaccine in sight, hopefully that’ll be even sooner than we think!