Jonathan Van Ness Is Today's Self Love Guru

Jonathan Van Ness Is Today's Self Love Guru

"Due to the fact that I was a male cheerleader, it’s very hard to embarrass me."

"Due to the fact that I was a male cheerleader, it’s very hard to embarrass me."

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

“Well, what did you think?!” Over the phone, Jonathan Van Ness is asking for an opinion on the hit show, Queer Eye, a reboot of the original series that summoned sob fests from anyone who subscribes to Netflix. Perhaps unexpectedly, a new iteration of the Fab Five has created a fresh and iconic moment in pop culture. It’s something JVN, one of the stars of it all, still can’t quite believe.

“It’s really kind of overwhelming,” he says of the emotional response viewers have had to the show. “I’ve cried a lot. We’ve all had our journeys and our struggles, and I just feel really in awe of the universe and how it works. I don’t know why—well of course I know why, because of the world we live in—but I was scared people were going to hate it.”

The truth is, to see JVN on your screen is to love him. Having picked up steam as the star of Funny or Die’s Gay of Thrones, the hair care guru’s organically hilarious and cheeky jargon instantly made him a star. What’s more is it built a brand for JVN, one that combines gay humor and sensibilities with no-holds-barred self-love. Making him the grooming specialist on Queer Eye, which focuses on making over the lives, looks, and self-esteems of different men on each episode, was basically a no-brainer. What’s more is that JVN learned about himself while teaching others.

“It was so busy, and so I think what I learned is that I’m really, really passionate about what I do,” he tells us. “And that I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. That was work and a level of expectation and pressure that I’ve never dealt with, and it was so much fun. And I loved it. But I was like, I feel like I’m 50 on the inside all of a sudden. I don’t go out; I’m working, and I’m working out.”

Moreover, he was forced to put his self-love strategies to the test, trying to remain sane and happy during impossibly busy work schedules. “I always find little pockets of joy within the day to rest up and relax, like doing yoga. I’m really into it, and I’m really into the gym… it’s all about breathing and listening to my body, which is great. I always incorporate a warm down into my workout, which is super cute—whatever. And then I always have a TV moment at night before bed.” Moreover, whenever possible, JVN indulges in a rejuvenating staycation. “I’ll just stay put, catch up and binge, and get to know my couch on a deeper level.”

Thankfully for us viewers, JVN will be back to a busy work schedule pretty soon. Queer Eye was recently confirmed for a second season, for which the star has a few ideas. “More makeup, more makeup artists, and more dermatologists, honey,” he says. “I also love the idea of working more or crossing over with the boys. I also have a fantasy of us going to our hometowns. I have so many hopes for future stuff, so fingers crossed. Our lips to God's ears.”

In the meantime, you can still catch JVN on his podcast Getting Curious,where he speaks to astrophysicists, people who work in finance, etc. about all the things he’s curious about. Essentially, it’s a podcast wherein he asks questions that the rest of us avoid out of fear of sounding dumb.

“With both Gay of Thrones and Getting Curious, I had no experience being on camera or doing podcasts. I’ve always really been into the news and I love to learn and I love to read. But as far as being on camera and producing a podcast, I have been totally new to those things and I learned them all on the job. That was so exciting for me because I finished high school and then I went to hair school. I did go to college for a semester but I failed out because I hated it. If I’m not interested in something, I can’t fake it. I have to be into it. So with Getting Curious, I have this opportunity to do something creatively pretty much by myself.”

JVN will be doing a live podcast at Milk Studios in New York on Sunday, May 20th. Grab your tickets here.

By Don Nixon
By Don Nixon
By Don Nixon

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