Although a reboot of the 2000s Bravo eponymous series, Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye‘ crosses every bound of the extreme makeover reality genre with its sheer compassion at every step of the way. After all, it revolves around five specialists (aka the Fab Five) as they help people (or Heroes) improve their private space and behaviors to such an extent they can finally lead a contented life. Amongst them in season 4 was actually Wesley Hamilton, only for him to return as a sort of mentor for Ray “Speedy” Walker in season 7 — so now, let’s just find out more about him, shall we?
Wesley Hamilton’s Queer Eye Journey
It was back on January 9, 2012, when Kansas City, Missouri native and self-proclaimed bad boy Wesley’s entire world turned upside down as he was shot at while leaving an ex-partner’s home. The truth is the then-24-year-old had never expected to make it past 21 owing to his extensive involvement in rough crowds, but enduring two bullets to his torso changed his entire narrative. While he once thought he’d eventually die or end up in prison for his social circle/actions, he felt more liberated than ever upon finding himself in a wheelchair paralyzed from the waist down.
However, this sense of mental freedom was not instantaneous for Wesley, especially since his recovery from the shooting as well as its complications had him bedridden for nearly three years. “I remember many nights of just beating my legs up because I thought they were worthless,” he candidly revealed in his episode. “I hated myself. I couldn’t be seen as this guy with a disability.” He admittedly used to have suicidal thoughts too, yet he somehow managed to find strength in his weakness by the time late 2015 rolled around and decided to completely transform his life.
Wesley actually started his self-improvement journey by undertaking nutrition courses at a community college before moving toward physical fitness, which also gave rise to his confidence. And that’s when he came up with the idea of establishing a non-profit called Disabled but Not Really to help others like him take control of their lives through adaptive activity programs as well. The 31-year-old’s paralysis thus became the reason he was able to find his purpose as a motivator, driving him to be proud of not only his years-long recovery but also his tumultuous past.
Nevertheless, Wesley was still nominated by his mother as it was evident he needed the Fab Five’s help to outwardly express his inner evolvement and lead a comfortable life in his own home. In other words, they guided him to acquire a more professional image, made his space disability accessible, as well as reconnected him to his real self as a man, son, friend, and single father. Though arguably the most impactful moment of this entire process was when he met his shooter face-to-face in a restaurant following a push by culture expert Karamo Brown and thanked him.
“I was able to do something that is going to empower the community,” Wesley later said in an interview with Refinery29. “When I said thank you, I did that for everyone who needs it. I just want to send that message that we all make mistakes, and sometimes they’re serious, but at the end of the day, we can all change.” He even told Men’s Health, “[The meeting] was hard. It was scary. I mean, you’ve got all these emotions, but the moment it was done, it was such a relief… If I came in with a blame game, it could’ve gone a whole different way. But I think because I was able to blame myself, and take accountability, it gave me instant relief once it was done.”
Where is Wesley Hamilton Now?
Ever since the filming of Wesley’s episode came to a close, he has been doing his best to expand Disabled but Not Really, maintain a more positive outlook on life, and focus on his personal well-being. In fact, it seems like the single father of one now splits his time between Kansas City and Los Angeles, from where he runs his foundation, his The District community program, as well as consultancy work. Moreover, his active social media platforms make it evident he has begun dabbling into modeling, public or motivational speaking, and podcasting too — he’s the host of ‘Out of the Shadows.’
There’s no denying Wesley still has bad days from time to time, yet he doesn’t let them darken the good ones or everything he has achieved over the years to ensure he can continue inspiring others. As for his stint in ‘Queer Eye’ season 7 to help Ray “Speedy” Walker navigate his own spinal cord injury; well, the proud influencer has revealed this too was an unprecedented adventure of a lifetime. That’s because “They wanted someone who had the experience to help come and motivate this young man. But honestly, he inspired me. SPEEDY ‘is what we call him’ and he has a story that will touch anyone❗”
Read More: Speedy: Where is the Queer Eye Season 7 Hero Now?