There’s no denying that Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski is a force. Four million followers on Instagram, the star of an Emmy winning Netflix show, and a gay icon, all at by the age of 35, how did he do it?
Like most roads to success, Porowski’s career path took many twists and turns. Evolving from just another New York waiter and wannabe actor to now a food superstar, all thanks to his ability to network and take risks. Keep reading to uncover three networking tips from this mastermind.
1. Antoni Porowski Knows Who He Is And What He Can Bring To The Table
You can take many meetings, attend countless networking mixers, and direct message everyone you possibly can think of on Linkedin. But all of that “networking” will most likely not work if you have no idea who you are and what you can bring to the table.
According to American author Zig Zigler, “Success is when opportunity meets preparedness.” So you can network all you want and have opportunities to further your career. But if you’re not prepared for those opportunities and know what you are capable of, then you won’t achieve success.
You can see this first hand with Porowski. He was able to translate his success from Queer Eye into a restaurant and cookbook all because he owned who he is and what he can bring to the table.
In the first episode of Queer Eye, Porowski got a lot of criticism for putting greek yogurt in guacamole i n aplop that was heard around the world. The New Yorker even called it “highly suspect guacamole.”
Instead of taking this to heart, Porowski owned it. This is because not only does Porowski know who he is and what he can offer, he’s also comfortable with both.
Porowski’s entire brand which makes him so relatable is the fact that he owns he’s not a chef. While the Netflix star equates chefs to rock stars, he owns that he is a self-taught home cook who learned from watching his culinary heroes on The Food Network.
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The fact that Porowski is transparent about who he is and what he can offer is key to his networking. He aligns himself with people who can do what he can’t.
This is demonstrated within his West Village popular fast-casual restaurant The Village Den. As a TV star and self-taught chef, there’s no way Porowski could run a restaurant on his own. So he partnered with seasoned food industry veterans Lisle Richards and Eric Marx who are known for giving life to New York eateries like Serafina, The Wayfarer and The Monarch Room.
While the dishes on the menu speak to what Porowski knows, healthy food, avocado, and his Polish roots. Porowski owning who he is, and partnering with people who can make his dreams a reality is an example of networking done right.
2. It’s All About Who You Know
The key to networking is who you know, and who they can introduce you to or opportunities they can connect you to. For Porowski, it wasn’t just his good looks, relatability and how effortlessly he can show even the most clueless cooks their way around the kitchen. It was also who he knew that got him the opportunity to be one of the Fab Five.
Who Porowski knew was Ted Allen, coincidentally the star of Bravo’s Queer for the Straight Guy and the current host of Chopped. Porowski met Allen at a book signing and the two immediately hit it off. Allen then hired Porowski to be his personal assistant and personal chef.
So when Netflix started to put together their cast for Queer Eye’s reboot, Porowski was literally at the right place at the right time. Porowski heard about the opportunity through a manager friend who encouraged him to try out.
While Allen was hesitant at first to encourage Porowski to try out, soon he realized it made total sense. Allen recognized that a lot of conventional chefs who have traditional training wouldn’t want to be on a show like Queer Eye.
While someone like Porowski, a home chef himself would be perfect person to teach home cooks the basics. Allen realized that Porowski would be relatable because he’s also a home cook who isn’t professionally trained but obsessed with cooking shows, cookbooks and talking about food all of the time.
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Turns out Allen was right, and because of that connection, Porowski got not only the reassurance but the endorsement to be part of the Fab Five. Networking is all about who you know, and how you impress those people so they can endorse you for the job you want.
3. Take Risks
Those who play it safe rarely get ahead. Networking can be risky, you can always get rejected or even burn a bridge. A lot of Porowski’s success happened because he took risks.
Porowski didn’t follow in the footsteps of the Food Network stars he learned to cook from. He didn’t even seek out to be a food host. Instead, he moved to New York to be an actor but found himself never comfortable with playing other people.
For the longest time, food was something that Porowski kept sacred. He only shared his cooking with close loved ones. Playing himself on an unscripted show made him feel vulnerable and naked, but it was that realness that made Porowski the star he is today.
When Porowski was given the opportunity to host Queer Eye, he was torn. He struggled with the decision to put himself out there. But it was the fear of regretting not exploring this opportunity that ultimately made him put himself out there.
It’s usually facing our fears that lead to success, and for Porowski, this was no exception. So if you feel like you’re prepared for success, but you’re scared to put yourself out there and network with people who can take you to that next level, don’t be.
According to John Mayer, “fear is a friend that’s misunderstood,” so embrace fear the only thing you have to lose is that opportunity to succeed.
Network Your Way To Success Like Antoni Porowski
Now that you know these three networking tips from Antoni Porowski follow your dreams. Your dreams are achievable as long as you own who you are, use your connections and take risks. For more tips on taking your dream to the next level, explore this blog.