'Queer Eye' star opens up about cocaine addiction in candid interview
If you haven't had a chance to see Queer Eye yet, do yourself a favour and check it out. While it may look from the outside like just another makeover show where a few tears are shed and someone gets a new haircut, this show has something really special about it.
The magic ingredients comes from the Fab Five, who each bring their own unique personality to the table alongside their specialist skills.
Karamo Brown, their resident lifestyle and culture expert, often ends up giving people advice on how to deal with self-esteem and confidence issues.
Yet sometimes those with the best advice had to learn those lessons the hard way.
Last August, Brown shared a video to Instagram in which he spoke about mental health. While this isn't unusual for his social media output, this video went to a much darker place, as he revealed that in 2006 he attempted suicide.
"I know so many of us suffer from mental health issues and we just don't know where to turn," he said in the video. "I want you to know that things do get better."
This week, Karamo has opened up about another dark time in his life, during which he was addicted to cocaine. Speaking to People Magazine, he explained how his recreational use escalated to the point he was using it as an "escape," sometimes even multiple times a day.
"Cocaine became my escape. I went to a place where I was using this drug and using it like early in the morning, in the evening," he recently told People Magazine. He continued:
"There was a point where I had my ATM set for fast cash for an eighth of cocaine. I would give my card to this strange dealer, I didn't even know his last name, so that he could go to the ATM for me and get cocaine.
"He could have robbed me blind. That was a low point, where I was like, ‘How could you embarrass yourself?’"
Karamo goes on to explain a particularly painful memory from one New Year's Eve. Sharing a car with his mother (who knew about his addiction), with her in the front and him in the backseat, he used.
"I was doing cocaine while she was in the front seat, and the look on her face - of hurt and pain. I put my family through that, but I had to forgive myself. Because going through that allows me to talk to people who have addictions and say 'I know what you're going through'.
"It allows me to talk to family members who are dealing with someone with an addiction, and whether it's drugs, alcohol, food, exercise, porn... there's so many addictions. I can speak to that and say 'you can grow through this and heal from it'."
Since he's gotten clean and worked through his own issues, Karamo has sought to give back to the world.
In recent years he has acted as the wellness ambassador for the National Black Justice Coalition, and co-founded 6in10, an organisation that works to fight stigma about HIV and provides mental health support and HIV education to the black LGBT community.
He will be in Queer Eye once again for their third season, which is set to premiere on Netflix on March 15.