In a new interview, the Fab Five talk about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affected Queer Eye season 6.

Queer Eye season 6, which began streaming on Netflix on New Year's Eve, had just started filming in Austin when the pandemic arrived. Netflix shuttered production just days into filming.

“I feel like the world collectively shut down,” Johnathan Van Ness, the show's grooming expert, told Logo. “I was like, ’I don’t want to touch anybody.’ I was starting to be like, ’Let’s touch elbows,’ and I was like, ’How’s this going to work?'” And then by Friday, they were just like, ’We’re shutting her down now.'”

“It was the week of my birthday, so my boyfriend flew from New York to come visit me,” food expert Antoni Porowski explained. “There was so much that we didn’t know. We just heard about this little virus that was going on. And when we’re filming, it’s really long hours, so I don’t really look at the news. I’m a little detached, and I just stay really focused on the job at hand… [My boyfriend] was meant to come for two days, and he’s like, ’I’m going to pack for five days because I feel like I might have to stay there a few extra days.'”

As New York City emerged as the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, the couple remained in Austin for three months.

Filming on the show's first episode with Terri “Ter Bear” White was nearly completed when production was shut down. The Fab Five picked up where they left off a year later to find out their hero had suffered two deaths in her family, making their reunion bittersweet.

“I was so happy until I found out how much Ter Bear and her family had been through,” Van Ness said. “I was really excited for us to be back together until that bit of news, but then we ended up being happy again.”

Bobby Berk, the show's interior designer, called the reunion “very emotional.”

“We had heard about the things that had happened in the last year, and so we had known about the heartbreaks and the turmoils that she’d been through. So going in there, there was a lot of emotion because on one hand, we were very sad for what she had been through,” Berk explained. “But on another hand, we were very happy that the things that we said to her did sink in. And especially a lot of the things that Karamo helped her and her daughter with, really helped them through all the situations that they had been through in the last year.”

Tan France, the show's fashion guru, said that the pandemic made this season feel “powerful and really important.”

“The reason why this season, in my opinion, felt powerful and really important is because when we got back, the pandemic wasn’t over, but we were dealing with people who were just starting to get back into the workplace, seeing family and friends again. These were people had been through so much. Normally our show, we’re focusing on a person, a family, a household. This time, it really does feel like our biggest season. We’re really focusing on community,” he said.

Karamo Brown, the show's culture expert, agreed, saying that the effects of the pandemic can be seen on the show.

“You actually really see it,” he said. “I think that’s one of the beauties of Queer Eye is that we hit on what everyone else is feeling, and we give space for it so that we can all cry through it, laugh through it, and just be grateful for it.”