Karamo Brown has, by now, established an immediately recognizable look for himself: Between his crisp beard line, his completely shaved head and ever-confident demeanor, "Queer Eye's" culture expert helps the Netflix show's heroes overcome life challenges with an unmistakable confidence that it feels like he was born with.
But as he told In The Know recently while promoting his new Freeform movie, "The Thing About Harry," Karamo wasn't always confident with his look. While filming the first two seasons of "Queer Eye" back-to-back, the former "Real World" star drew on his hairline in an effort to hide the fact that he was balding.
"I remember during the first and second seasons of 'Queer Eye,' I was helping all these people feel good about themselves and love who they are, and here I was every night going into my house and drawing on my hairline," he revealed. "It was really embarrassing, because when I would get in the car with my 'Queer Eye' castmates, if we hit a bump — my head would be on the roof. And so, they knew what was going on and I would laugh it off with them, but I would feel embarrassed."
Credit: Cyle Suesz for In The Know
His embarrassment was born out of the fact that, as he told ITK, all of the "messaging for men who are balding was that you're not going to have the life you want [and] you're not going to have the partner you want."
After filming the first two seasons of the Netflix show that would go on to make him an overnight sensation, Karamo made the "liberating" decision to shave his head: "For once, I was being authentic, and I was living my truth."
"Since I shaved my head, I feel more confident, I feel sexy," he added. "I come out in the sun in the day time and I'm like, 'Look at me, I look good today.'"
Born out of his newfound confidence was the desire to help other men who also struggled to accept their baldness, which is why Karamo started the groundbreaking skincare line, MANTL, this year.
"Your hair doesn’t define you — not one bit of it. So start taking care of your skin, start taking care of your scalp and then you’ll feel more confident about yourself," he urged. "If I can do it, The Rock can do it, Steve Harvey can do it. You can do it."
MANTL is comprised of four products: A cleanser, an invisible daily SPF, age defense moisturizer and no-shine sheets, all of which he hopes will "help [customers'] self-esteem."
A post shared by MANTL (@mantlmen) on Feb 5, 2020 at 12:00pm PST
That's also what he hopes his new movie, "The Thing About Harry," will help his fans with, as well. The film, which will premiere on Freeform on Saturday, Feb. 15, is a gay rom-com that Karamo says is "showing that what we all experience is the desire to be loved and meet somebody."
"I'm hoping everyone watches it, no matter if you’re gay or part of the LGBTQ community [or] if you're straight, this is just a movie that is going to make you feel good."
Learn more about MANTL here, and tune in to "The Thing About Harry" on Freeform on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. EST