Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown Brings His Children’s Book To Austin
Father and son mantra creates empowering, inclusive story
By A. Micah Mills,
12:45PM, Tue. Nov. 5, 2019
You are good enough. A simple message every kid — and adult — deserves to hear.
Netflix’s Queer Eye-con Karamo Brown and his 22-year-old son Jason “Rachel” Brown wrote the children’s book I Am Perfectly Designed to bring this message to the forefront of storytime. And now, the father-son duo are taking their book, on sale Nov. 5, on tour and stopping by Austin on Thursday, Nov. 7.
Inspired by Karamo and Jason’s non-traditional story of how they became family when, in 2007, the Real World alum found out he had a nine-year-old biological son and gained full custody, the story stems from a piece of self-love single-dad Karamo used to tell his son when he was little. When Jason worried he wasn’t good enough or caught flack for having a gay dad, Karamo would remind him: You are “perfectly designed.”
The meaning stuck with him into adulthood. “Now that I’m older, it’s easier to walk with my head held up proudly,” Jason addresses the reader in the book’s closing. “My father and I felt it was only right to give this message to you.” With each turn of the page, the reader follows a father and son duo walking through a city as they reminisce on what makes them perfectly designed for each other from the hair growing on their head all the way down to their toes.
I Am Perfectly Designed not only aims to empower individuals, but also paint an inclusive and diverse community as illustrated by Pakistani-Canadian artist Anoosha Syed. Easter eggs can be found inside each page – from same-sex parents and feminist t-shirts – and you might just spot a Fab Five cameo. “We wanted somebody who could really encapsulate this feeling of love, family, and diversity because the world is diverse,” Karamo told Qmmunity. “Anoosha was great at that.” The book’s inclusive motifs don’t stray far from that of a Queer Eye episode. “What we do on the show is tell people that they’re enough and if you want a little help we’re here for you and that is what this book is going to continue on,” Karamo explained.
Queer Eye’s latest four-episode mini-series hit Netflix on Nov. 1, with the Fab Five taking on Japan. Karamo admits — without trying to toot his own horn — it’s an extraordinary season, and proudly boasts that the cast keeps getting better (toot, toot!). “It just shows that the human experience is universal.” Karamo explains. “That what we go through here, somebody in Japan is going through as well.” (For a heartwarming moment, check out Karamo showing his Queer Eye colleagues I Am Perfectly Designed for the first time!)
With a new season of Queer Eye in 2020, a lead role in an additional television project, and a new company and podcast on the horizon, Karamo is going to continue to pour positivity and encouragement into his projects. Karamo recalled that – over a decade ago – he told himself in his small office that if he could figure out a way to do social service work on a bigger scale that would be his dream. “Here I am inspiring people and helping people just like I did when I was in my office,” Karamo reminisced. “I am not slowing down anytime soon.”
Whether the next time you see Karamo is on Netflix or IRL at Book People on Nov. 7, remember — you are perfectly designed.
I Am Perfectly Designed will be available online and at your nearest bookstore starting November 5. Catch Karamo and Jason Brown at BookPeople on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6:30pm. The speaking portion of the event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required to join the signing line and are only available to those who purchase a copy of the book from BookPeople. Visit the website for details.