Karamo Brown' Wants to Remind You That Your Happiness Is "Equally as Important as Anybody Else's"

Kelsey Hurwitz
·4 min read
Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff
Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff

From Woman's Day

Karamo Brown is known for his positivity. As a culture expert on Queer Eye, he's constantly helping people find their inner happiness, and his social media is all about making people smile. But even for someone whose brand was built on optimism, the ongoing global pandemic is enough to shake him. "I'm super scared of COVID, I ain't gonna lie to you," Brown tells Woman's Day. And though Brown is taking the pandemic seriously — self isolating, only seeing friends who have been quarantining and have been COVID tested, and taking extra precautions to stay safe — he's still making sure he uses the time SPENT in isolation to do things that will make him happy and push him outside his comfort zone.

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"The first thing that quarantine has taught me and gave me a clearer vision for, that 2020 vision, is to think about 'What makes me happy?'" Brown says. "I think a lot of times most of us, especially people of color, women, LBGT people, because of how people try to posture us in the world and the place they try to put us in, we sometimes feel like we need to please to succeed. And what I've learned is that it's important to please yourself and understand that your happiness is most important."

So what's he doing to please himself these days? Turns out, a whole lot. He's tried paragliding, ATV-ing on the beach, and he just recently started learning French. "I watched Emily in Paris," Brown says of the new Netflix show. "And I was like oh my gosh, I wanna get a chateau in Paris, and I want to learn French. And I was like why not? I'm young enough, let's do this. I'm learning sign language, so let's add something else. I want to be fabulous and 40 in Paris knowing the language, because every time I go I don't know the language. I can do it, I'm Emily in Paris."

And with all that unbridled enthusiasm, he really could be the next Emily in Paris.

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Part of the reason that Brown has been able to spontaneously paraglide off a cliff or learn a new language is because he's recommitted to putting himself first. As a father and during his last relationship, he often found himself putting others' needs ahead of his own. "I could never do something by myself because it was like I need to be attached," he says. "I felt more validation through other people, and now it's like, what can I do to make me happy? It's about taking those moments that make me happy, and it's OK to ask that question. And it's OK for me to voice it, it doesn't make you look egotistical or narcissistic. It's a beautiful thing to say 'My happiness is important, equally as important as anybody else's.'"

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There's no pressure to feel your best all the time, though. Brown says the first step to being more positive is to know it's "OK to not be OK." He also emphasizes the importance of acknowledging that "some days you're going to cry, and then the next day you'll smile." And even for someone who has a reputation for being cheery, he admitted to struggling at the beginning of the pandemic. "I was like when did everybody learn to bake bread and exercise and dance?" he says. "I was still trying to get out of my robe. There was a pandemic going on, and I was nervous."

But finding a new routine and allowing himself to feel the highs and lows has propelled him forward through a chaotic time. And while many people will continue to tune into Queer Eye to soak up a little feel-good energy from Brown, he'll be practicing his French and daydreaming of Karamo in Paris.

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