'Queer Eye' Castmates JVN and Antoni Porowski 'Together'... as Pet Food Entrepreneurs

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday September 16, 2022

If the news that "Queer Eye" castmates Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski are now "together" had you hyperventilating, then brace yourself for the come-down: It turns out they're partners only in an entrepreneurial sense, having joined forces to launch a pet food supplement called Yummers.

The clarification came on Sept. 15, a day after Van Ness sent out what initially seemed to be the announcement of a new romantic relationship.

"We're finally together," Van Ness captioned a photo of the two in a blissful clench. "Details tomorrow, but know that we're very happy and feeling supported by the people around us," they said.

The announcement sparked headlines, but then the other shoe dropped — and reduced the bombshell "romance" to nothing more than a footnote in the history of disappointing promotional gimmicks when it turned out that the two had teamed up together with a third business partner to bring Yummers, which is a pet food "mix-in," to the world.

Slate raked the stunt, first noting that the initial announcement was "confusing" and noting that the "Queer Eye" co-hosts are "part of a nonthreatening band of merry queer friends roaming the country in search of makeover subjects, not a band of merry queer lovers with complicated entanglements."

"Plus, Van Ness is married; Porowski has a boyfriend — were they also coming out as polyamorous?"

No such luck, of course. But not everyone was taken in by the suggestion that the two were lovebirds. "Before long, some enterprising fans on social media determined, via Porowski's following tab on Instagram, that the news must involve something called 'Yummers,'" Slate recounted, and that's exactly what the real story turned out to be.

"Sure enough, on Thursday, the two followed up, announcing Yummers Pet Supply Co., proprietor of a line of 'incredible, sustainable, and deLISH' pet food mix-ins. Larry, Van Ness' cat, apparently can't get enough of them," Slate said.

Van Ness posted, "Whoops, important clarification — we're together in *business* BAYBIEZ!" The caption accompanied a more complete version of the first announcement's photo, showing the two clutching bags of Yummers.

Added Van Ness: "These essential meal-mix ins make your pet's food infinitely more flavorful and nutritious, just by mixing in a little on top of each meal."

But Slate had had enough of what it suggested were the empty calories of a cheap and cynical marketing ploy.

"We all know who you make an ass out of when you assume, but when someone says they're 'together,' are we assuming or are we being misled?" the site chafed. "Do we have to not count a relationship as confirmed until someone straight up says, 'We're doing it'? I know they're queer, but is this not queerbaiting?"

People Magazine was more forgiving, simply noting that the two had teamed up with "a former Petco executive" named Rebecca Frechette, and quoting Van Ness as saying, "I think it's a mutual love of pets, is what really kind of brought us together."

"We're both pet parents," Van Ness said of themself and Porowski, "and Rebecca is really the mastermind. She saw that there was a gorgeous opportunity for us."

Only the buying public will decide whether the opportunity was a golden doorway or a squandered business idea.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.