Kressley was born in Allentown, and raised in the nearby unincorporated community of Orefield. His family raised ponies and he competed in equine events from an early age, was a member of the U.S. World Cup Saddle Seat equitation team in 1999 and won a world championship in 2009.
He graduated from Northwestern Lehigh High School in 1987, and in 1991 earned a bachelor's degree from Gettysburg College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was a member of the fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.
He began as an independent stylist, then worked for Ralph Lauren from 1994 until 2002, working in several areas including menswear and corporate advertising. His leap into television took place in 2003 when he gained great exposure as the "fashion savant" on Queer Eye when the show debuted on the Bravo cable television network. He remains active and visible on television as a fashion critic or commentator. Kressley frequently appears on Good Morning America and for the E! Network, among others, and has critiqued red carpet fashions at high-profile events such as the Oscars and the Golden Globes. In 2005, he acted as a judge for the Miss Universe pageant, which aired live from Bangkok, Thailand. In 2006, he returned to the Miss Universe pageant, but as commentator, and was also commentator for the 2006 Miss USA pageant.
In February 2007, he was announced as the host of new Lifetime makeover show, How to Look Good Naked (a U.S. version of a British series). The show's premiere episode on January 4, 2008 drew record numbers for Lifetime—1.6 million viewers, which included significant numbers in the adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 demographics, as well as the network's target demo of women 18-34. As of January 2008, the debut episode of How to Look Good Naked is Lifetime's highest-rated premiere in those three demographics.
He has also appeared on Big Brother Australia.
In September 2011, Kressley was a participant on the 13th season of Dancing with the Stars, partnered with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya. Kressley proved to be a fan favorite, but was voted off week five of the competition.
Since the success of Queer Eye he has pursued various acting opportunities. In 2005, Kressley made his film debut in the movie The Perfect Man starring Heather Locklear and Hilary Duff, playing Lance, a bartender. In July 2006, he starred in "The Year Without a Santa Claus." This TV movie also stars John Goodman as Santa, and aired December 11, 2006 on NBC. He had a cameo role in his third movie, the independent comedy 16 to Life. The feature film "It's Christmas, Carol" premiered December 2012.
In November 2006, Kressley debuted "Perfect", his own clothing for men and women, on QVC. He cites his experience as a stylist with Ralph Lauren and on Queer Eye as inspiration for the line, and says he "...realized a lot of people are missing great basics in their wardrobe. I consider my Perfect collection for QVC to be 'basics with a twist.'" He debuted a new women's collection for Shop NBC in April 2012. The collection, called "Love, Carson", is built on transformative pieces that provide women with affordable glamour.
- Author of the 2004 book Off The Cuff: The essential style guide for men and the women who love them (ISBN 0-525-94836-8).
- Author of You're Different and That's Super, a 2005 children's story deriving inspiration from the classic tale "The Ugly Duckling," featuring a unicorn who grows up among a herd of horses from foalhood to maturity.Kressley, Carson, Jared Lee You're Different and That's Super. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1-4169-0070-5 ISBN 978-1-4169-0070-2
- Co-author, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab Five's Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better (Clarkson Potter, 2004), with the four other cast members.
Kressley is also known as an owner of American Saddlebred horses and respected for his success as a horse show exhibitor. He won a world title in 2009. Kressley's interest in horses combined with his interest in promoting respect for diversity, resulted in his authorship of 'You're Different and That's Super!', illustrated by cartoonist Jared Lee.
Kressley is an ambassador for the Melbourne Cup, in 2007 playing a part in the 'Fashion On The Field'.
- In 2004 Queer Eye won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Reality Program." It was nominated again for that category in 2005.
- Carson is known on the show for his reaction faces during the lip-syncs, the internet has made his expressions and awkward movements into viral internet memes.
- Carson was only a judge for two episodes of Season 11, "Whatcha Unpackin?" and "Queens Everywhere".
- Carson Kressley Official Web Site
- Carson Kressley Biography at Bravo Television
- Carson Kressley interview with Portland Magazine
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