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Carson Kressley Biography


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Birth Name: Carson Kressley
Born: 11/11/1969
Birth Place: Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, USA


Born Carson Lee Kressley on Nov. 11, 1969 in Clausville, PA, Kressley graduated from high school in 1986 and studied at Gettysburg College. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa and with Magna Cum Laude honors in 1991, Kressley received degrees in both finance and fine arts. Moving to the Big Apple after college, Kressley promptly found a job in the fashion industry where he quickly gained a reputation as a top stylist. In 1994, Kressley was hired by fashion designer Ralph Lauren to oversee the high-profile men's swimwear division. It was here, that Kressley made his name as one of the industry's leading haute couturiers and where he would devote the next eight years of his life.

In 2003, Kressley's life changed dramatically when he auditioned to be an on-air personality and fashion consultant for a unique reality makeover show. The premise of the program, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (Bravo, 2003-08), involved heterosexual male candidates being culturally transformed by five openly gay men, each an expert in their respective field. Each week a new candidate received generous guidance from the "Fab Five" in preparation for such major events as high school reunions, marriage proposals, or a first dinner with a girlfriend's parents. The "hetero-to-metro" transformations were often quite dramatic, providing candidates with complete makeovers, new clothes, new apartment furnishings and whatever style enhancing help they needed. Aired on the Bravo channel, "Queer Eye" was an instant ratings hit - by cable standards, at least. Later, when the show's episodes were picked up for broadcast by NBC, the show's popularity exploded, turning Kressley and his co-stars, Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia and Jai Rodriguez into overnight celebrities and red carpet staples.

Riding the wave of the show's popularity, the outgoing Kressley quickly found himself awash in job offers outside of his weekly gig. Eager to capitalize on his quick wit and telegenic appeal, major companies and networks lined up to sign Kressley as either a commercial pitchman or a fashion commentator for red carpet award shows. A regular contributor for both "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ) and the E! Entertainment network, Kressley was easily the most recognized member of the "Fab Five" and had the most appeal to cross-over audiences. Kressley made his acting film debut playing a bartender in the Hilary Duff/Heather Locklear chick flick, "The Perfect Man" (2005). The following year, Kressley was cast in a made-for-TV family movie called, "The Year Without a Santa Claus" (NBC, 2006), with the stylist playing an elf to John Goodman's jolly old St. Nick. In addition to his work on screen, Kressley also authored three books, including one for young children called You're Different and That's SUPER, published in 2005.

Back on the small screen again - this time without the Fab Five - he was the host of "How to Look Good Naked" (Lifetime, 2007-08), a makeover show remade from a British series which encouraged women who felt insecure about their bodies to strip nude for cameras without first resorting to plastic surgery or weight loss. The show became an instant hit for Lifetime when it first aired, drawing record numbers of viewers for the cable network. Meanwhile, he appeared as Master of Ceremonies on Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors Tour 2008." Racking up another small acting credit, Kressley had a brief cameo in the indie teen comedy "16 to Life" (2009), then signed on that same year as a co-host alongside Vanessa Minnillo for season two of the short-lived reality series "True Beauty" (ABC, 2008-2010). The celebrity fashionista rebounded in style when he was given a series of his own on the newly launched Oprah Winfrey Network, entitled "Carson Nation" (OWN, 2011- ), in which he helped fashion-challenged folks in various American small towns in need of advice. Kressley continued to make news in the fall of that year when he was announced as one of the celebrity contestants for the 13th season of the reality dance competition "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), which pitted him against hopeful hoofers like David Arquette and Ricki Lake.