UR’s beloved mascot, Rocky the Yellowjacket, has gotten another makeover — this time with the help of the Fab Five from “Queer Eye.”
“Queer Eye” is a reality television show in which a team of gay professionals give individuals fashion and lifestyle makeovers, which recently received a Netflix reboot in 2018. Makeover recipients must be nominated by friends or family in order to be considered for a transformation by the Fab Five.
“I’m so glad that I just went for it and nominated Rocky,” (“retiring”) Provost and Senior Vice President for Research Robert Clark said. “He just hasn’t looked all that happy the past few years. His antennae were droopy, he wasn’t skipping around like he used to. At sporting events, he’d just walk around aimlessly on the sidelines, lazily clapping his hands. He didn’t seem to be as excited as a mascot should, you know?”
Clark and Rocky’s other friends and family say Rocky seems revitalized after the Fab Five’s visit to Rochester last week. They credit the individual contributions of each Fab Five member.
“Honestly, going into this, I had no idea what yellowjackets eat,” Antoni Porowski, the Fab Five’s food and wine expert said. “Rocky seemed a little offended when I suggested a honey dish, since apparently producing honey is only a bee thing. Let’s be real — my job is the least important one, anyway.”
Tan France, the group’s fashion expert, said he had his work cut out for him. “Those big, goofy sneakers, the baggy shorts with horizontal stripes — horizontal stripes! Rocky was the hardest canvas to work on yet. It was hard work getting him out of his fashion comfort zone, but it was totally worth it,” France said with a proud smile.
France and Rocky worked together to fill Rocky’s closet with items that complement his invertebrate figure. Rocky has switched to tighter shorts (“They make his legs look longer,” France explained), some simple yet sophisticated button-up shirts, and linen loafers. France told us to expect to see Rocky around campus sporting a French tuck.
Next on the Fab Five’s to-do list was to get Rocky a grooming regimen with the help of expert Jonathan Van Ness.
“I’ve never worked on a bug before, so this was super exciting!” Van Ness said. “I have to agree with Robert that Rocky’s antennae were looking totally droopy, so we went to the salon and took care of that first. Now, his gorgeous antennae are rocking a gorgeous ombre look!”
“Tan went out of his way to find pants with holes for Rocky’s stinger,” Van Ness continued, “so we spiffed up that cute little stinger of his, and it looks great!”
While France and Van Ness took care of Rocky’s appearance, design expert Bobby Berk had his hands full with Rocky’s nest.
“Before we arrived to help, Rocky had been living in this sad little nest in a tree by the Genesee River,” Berk said. “It wasn’t very warm or homey. Rocky’s nest needed a complete do-over.”
Berk relocated Rocky’s nest to an eave of the Witmer House, the Mt. Hope home where UR Presidents live.
“He’s a good neighbor, so I was fine with it,” University President Sarah Mangelsdorf said.
Berk and his construction team incorporated some windows into the nest for natural light, and focused the interior design around a honeycomb-patterned scheme.
“What I wanted most was for Rocky to have a nice, relaxing place to come home to and unwind after a long day of boosting school spirit,” Berk said. “I think we accomplished that.”
The Fab Five’s work ended with a heart-to-heart between Rocky and Karamo Brown, culture and lifestyle expert. Together, they got to the root of Rocky’s recent unhappiness.
“Rocky explained to me that this mother was a queen and his father was a drone,” Brown said. “His parents didn’t have much time for him growing up in his childhood nest, so he and I worked through those feelings of loneliness and talked about how to build healthy relationships.”
Rocky is optimistic that the lessons he learned from Karamo will make him a better parent to his own larvae.
“Buzz buzz. Buzz buzz buzz buzzzzzzz buzz buzz,” Rocky said.
The Fab Five have since left Rochester, but Rocky told the Campus Times that their impact will stay with him forever.