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‘I did 40 dates in 40 nights and hated it’: Karamo on dating apps damaging LGBTQs – and how he met his boyfriend without them

Exclusive: "Dating apps allow us to reject on the most superficial levels of being human" says the TV star, as he reflects on mental health, addiction, his son coming out as pan and his love of the Spice Girls

By Jamie Tabberer

Karamo, and right, with boyfriend Carlos Medel (Images: Provided/Carlos Medel)
Karamo, and right, with boyfriend Carlos Medel (Images: Provided/Carlos Medel)

“You’re in London? I was just there!” says Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, before telling Attitude of his rager at shirtless nirvana Adonis. It wasn’t quite

the night of debauchery you’d expect, though, as partygoers were tapping him up for advice even on the dancefloor.

“It happens everywhere,” explains the trained social worker and psychotherapist. “One thing I’ve always battled is, because my job’s helping people, people think 24/7, it’s all I want to do… And I love it! But on a Saturday night, I want to be at Adonis dancing with my shirt off…”

A portrait-shaped picture of Karamo in a blue suit
“Mental health needs to be practised daily” – Karamo (Image: Carlos Medel)

Such is the cross you have to bear when you’re known to millions as the Marie Kondo of emotions and one of five (four from next season, following Bobby Berk’s departure) handsome faces fronting a gargantuan Netflix show which has just started its eighth season. In addition, the 43-year-old hosts daytime talk show Karamo, on which he again helps guests unpack life’s complexities.

Here, the star talks fatherhood — he has two sons, Jason, 27, and Christian, 23 — the Spice Girls, and why healing from addiction is a journey, not a destination.

Karamo on whether he wants more kids

Definitely not. I was in a relationship of 10 years and felt the pressure. ‘We’re in the public eye! We have to get married! We have to have another kid!’ But that wasn’t my full desire. It was: ‘This is what’s expected — you’re in your thirties.’ I woke up one day and was like, ‘This is not what I want.’ The first thing I said to my [new] partner was: “If you want to rush marriage, I’m not the person for you.” He said: “God, no. And no kids. Let’s take our time.” I was like: “Let’s go.” I love being a father — my sons call me every day and they’re always in the house — but it’s different now because they’re older.

“Domestic violence in the LGBTQ+ community is not discussed enough” – Karamo Brown (Image:

Karamo on addiction

Drug addiction, in gay culture, among some of my friends, is rampant. Being around drugs, I’m constantly saying: “This isn’t where I’m at. This isn’t what I want.” It’s like, ‘How do I put the things in place to ensure I’m patient and honest with myself?’ It’s literally a journey. There will be times I’m like: ‘We’re having a good time — why not?’ Then I’m like: ‘No.’ I understand the aftermath. There are times I feel depressed, like I’m never going to get out of that space. Instead of fighting myself and feeling worse — and guilty — I take time to understand why I’m feeling it. Having patience and grace with yourself are things you have to constantly do. Similar to self-esteem, mental health needs to be practised daily. If not, you slip into old routines and behaviours.

Karamo on abusing an ex-partner

Domestic violence in the LGBTQ+ community is not discussed enough. I’ve shared many times where once I was in a relationship, the police came to the door, saw two men, and literally said: “Y’all figure it out.” Most police officers, fire fighters, social workers, nurses are not trained in identifying and dealing with same-sex couples. Me speaking about it openly and clearly allows other people to [think]: ‘We make mistakes, we acknowledge, we make amends, we move on.’ Many people don’t get the closure they deserve.

Karamo on dating apps

I gave them a go while I was single, went all in and did 40 dates in 40 nights and hated every minute. I realised, because of the access and availability, there was no point getting invested, asking more questions, going to the next level. I hate dating apps because they allow us to reject on the most superficial levels of being human, and I think we haven’t seen the effects — especially in the LGBT community — on self-esteem, our relationships. That ability to find spaces, and each other, and hear each other’s stories made us strong as a community. When you get to a point where all I have to do is look at a photo and now don’t like you? It’s a slippery slope.

Karamo on the Spice Girls

I’m a huge fan. I’ve met Ginger, Posh, Scary… I met Victoria at a Vanity Fair party. I don’t want to overextend it! It was like: “Hey, I’m a mega fan.” “Thank you.” She’s my favourite.

Karamo on his boyfriend

I met him when we were both in relationships, although there was no funny business. We got talking about work on Instagram. Ironically, conversation shifted to issues with our partners. The pandemic happened; we fell out of touch. In January 2021, I was like, ‘Now I want to flirt.’ I hit him up. We said we were going to have sex, and that was it. We did not. We stayed up until 6am talking and crying. It was the first time I practised something, which was full transparency on the first night. We talked about everything from family to fears to finances. We showed each other our bank accounts and credit scores
on the first night. Which seems odd to some… But we were putting everything out there!

Karamo on ageing

I just turned 43, and love ageing — it’s a blessing — but girl, it’s a struggle. The kids are getting younger, and Dad’s getting older! I’m thinking about Botox. It’s hard because we’re a culture that loves beauty. It’s easy to say I’m losing hair, I’m gaining weight, but I fall in love with one thing about me every morning.

Karamo on his son coming out as pansexual

Things change rapidly. I never want to fall prey to being one of ‘those’ gay men — friends I’m consistently having conversations with: “Oh, I just don’t understand ‘they’! I can’t do it!” If you don’t want to do it, and we’re family, how do you expect people outside of this to do it? Language changes: we evolve. Having a son who’s queer, he’s constantly like: “Dad, that’s antiquated.” I’m like: “OK. Teach me.”