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Karamo Brown on Mental Health and COVID: 'You're Grieving the Life You Thought You're Supposed to Have'

What is your reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement?

"I think it's excellent. I'm so excited that right now people who have not been aware, or have tried to pretend as if they weren't aware of the racial disparities, are now waking up and saying, 'Enough is enough. I'm going to support and help people to understand.' But there is still a large swath of people who believe that this movement is trying to say that one race is better than another, when in actuality, the only race that's ever done that was the white race. So for me, it's really about helping them know that this is not bad. It's saying that what we need is equality and equity and we're going to fight for that, and we're going to protest for that, and we want your support, because together, we will have a better tomorrow if we all are fighting to make sure that no one is dying in the streets, that no one is dying in their homes because police unlawfully invaded their home, speaking of Breonna Taylor. I think it's so important that we continue to have these movements and even though people don't see them as much in their social media feeds, they're still happening in every city across this country and they're still happening overseas. Because what I know to be true about this movement, and what I know to be true about this generation is that this will be at the forefront of conversations as we go forward, and will become a national conversation again and again until things change."

Transitioning a bit to your hit Netflix show, Queer Eye, I know you all began filming around the beginning of the pandemic. Are you currently filming?

"No, they shut it down after one episode. We shot and then literally, we were hugging the hero, and we stepped out of their home to say goodbye, and then the network was like, 'Hey, so we're gonna put you on a plane because there's this virus.' "

"We saw it coming, but I think like most Americans, because unfortunately our president and some of the news cycles were downplaying it as if like, 'Oh no, it's not gonna affect us, we'll be fine.' So I think our network did a really great job of seeing it for what it was and making sure that we were safe way before the news had said things need to shut down. But they're excited for us to go back. They've given us notice on Monday that Queer Eye is coming back, [saying,] 'Don't worry guys. We're just figuring out how to do it safely and at the right time.' "

Have you been in sweatpants most of the time like the rest of us? Or do you still get dressed up?

"No, I learned very early in the pandemic that to not get into a state of feeling depressed and feeling alone, you have to create some normalcy. And that's done by routine. So I put my alarm clock on so that I can get up every morning around the same time. That makes sure that my body is feeling like you're not just gonna be on the couch all day. I also set a limit on the amount of time I watch television or watch my social media screens because I don't want to get just stuck in that. I find other things to do, whether it's just playing outside, taking a walk or reading."

"One of the most important things is that I shower and I change my outfits everyday now. Even if I'm not going anywhere, it does so much for your mental state. Because when you get into that state of I'm not caring about my body, that then translates into the world doesn't care about me, sort of like I'm forgotten. So you've got to wake yourself and go into that mirror and be like, 'Look, you look cute today. You look good,' and do that as much as you can. I try to do it every single day."

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