Looking back at our shows, we often wonder about the people who've left. Where did they go when their moment in the Bravo spotlight was over? What are they up to now? Each week, we'll be looking into the lives of one of these familiar faces. Today, it's Thom Filicia from Queer Eye For the Straight Guy.
The world first got to know Thom Filicia as the humorous, detail-oriented interior design expert on Bravo's Emmy-winning series Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, which aired from 2003 to 2007. "It was a lot—a lot—of work. And it took a lot of time. For me, in particular," Thom told HudsonMOD, "because my segment of the show required a complete transformation of the guy's home. It was so crazy so much of the time."
But he has no regrets. "I realized fairly quickly that this television program was deeply resonating with America," he added. "Queer Eye, unbelievably, became a lot more than I ever expected it to be." After the series wound down, Thom continued to work at his day job—he's led the New York City-based design firm Thom Filicia Inc. since 1998—but continued to bolster his profile with TV gigs including a run in the late '00s as the host of the Style network's Dress My Nest and Tacky House programs.
After Queer Eye, Thom—who lives with his longtime partner, marketing exec Greg Calejo, in NYC—also launched the Thom Filicia Home Collection, a successful line of furniture, rugs, curtain hardware, artwork, pillows, throws and fabrics sold through several big retailers.
He also followed up his first two design books with a third in 2012 titled American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat, which chronicles his experience transforming his lake-house in upstate New York from fixer-upper to fab retreat.
Thom's client Tina Fey—he decorated her Manhattan apartment, as well as Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's former Long Island mansion—wrote the forward for the book, gushing that she was "really impressed with his legit training, his visual style, and his ability to translate his philosophy into practical tips for nerds."
A staple in design publications, Thom's work has appeared most recently in Architectural Digest and Domino, and one of his biggest projects for 2015 has been the new décor of the Turks and Caicos luxury resort Grace Bay Club. "TV will always be there at some level," he told the Windy City Times. "[But] I like having the balance between television and my real job."
He's grateful for all of it. "I'm acutely aware of how fortunate I am in my life. I've exceeded my wildest dreams for myself. I could have never imagined this life for me as a kid growing up in Syracuse," he told HudsonMOD. "Every single day, I feel inspired and have deep gratitude for being able to create beautiful things."
He's also kept the sense of humor that made him a fan favorite on Queer Eye: Thom keeps his Emmy Award in the bathroom, where its wings serve as a toilet-paper holder. "It brings a smile to everyone's face when they see it there," Thom told the New York Daily News. "Mine, too."