There is a big difference between manners and good taste, says interior designer Thom Filicia, one-fifth of the Fab Five from Bravo's popular "Queer Eye" series. Knowing what society requires is just half of the battle: "When you’re very proficient at anything you then are able to look at it holistically and then actually push it a little bit further. I think when people are less connected to a concept or an idea they’re intimidated by it and therefore they kind of follow it as opposed to lead it. So I think when you talk about taste or taste makers they’re generally people who have a great understanding of the social requirements but are able to sort of play with it and push it a little bit further."
In his Big Think interview, Filicia tells us about his design aesthetic and the fact that he views his clients' interiors as narratives that should tell a story about the clients themselves. "It's a direct extension of their life, their lifestyle," he says. Filicia has really embraced the trend towards sustainability, which is just as robust in the field interior design as in architecture. And just because an interior is eco-friendly, it doesn't have to look sparse and sterile. Filicia walks us through an interior that looks inviting and comfortable but was designed using sustainable materials and furniture. One trend he hasn't embraced is, though, is that of Snooki and the "Real Housewives."
Filicia also described to us his process of coming out as a gay man. Telling his parents he was gay was pretty uneventful, he says, but explaining that he would be on a TV show called "Queer Eye" was surprisingly more difficult. "It was like coming out for three years everyday." This clip is part of Big Think's "Coming Out: Stories of Gay Identity" series, in which prominent members of the LGBT community, like comedian Stephen Fry and filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell, recount their experiences coming to terms with their sexuality.