Jonathan Van Ness Mailing Address, Email, Fan Mail, House Address, Contact Number, Agent, Manager, Mailing address, Contact Info
Jonathan Van Ness was eating a late breakfast at the Empire Diner in Manhattan’s Chelsea area, just across the street from his one-bedroom apartment. He was presenting what he calls his “16th-century Jesus” outfit, which included Hollywood starlet tresses, a Super Mario villain mustache, and fingernails painted with cartoon portrayals from the 1996 film “The First Wives Club.”
Mr. Van Ness, however, was not in the mood to be his usual handsome self, the raucous “Yass queen” merman that “Queer Eye” fans admire. He’d had too much to drink. It wasn’t from too much partying, either. It was a “vulnerability hangover,” as Brené Brown, a TED Talk-famous researcher, created the phrase to describe emotions of fear after being open.
Mr. Van Ness remarked, “I’ve had nightmares every night for the last three months because I’m afraid to be this open with others.” Mr. Van Ness, 32, has spent most of the summer psychologically preparing for the Sept. 24 publication of his penetrating memoir, “Over the Top,” in which a new picture of Mr. Van Ness emerges with surprising openness.
The book, dubbed a “Raw Journey to Self-Love,” doesn’t so much burst as give psychological insight into the hirsute gay fairy godmother in heels, or, as he puts it, “the effervescent, gregarious magnificent center-part-blow-dry cotton-candy figure-skating queen” he portrays on “Queer Eye.” It’s difficult for me to be as open as I’d want to be because there are certain things I haven’t revealed publicly,” he said. He fidgeted nervously, cracking his knuckles. “These are topics that need to be discussed.”
He ordered his fifth cup of coffee of the day and started crying as he spoke about a particularly difficult experience, one of many that he shares in his book. He was assaulted by an older kid from church when he was much younger, during what was intended to be a pretend play session. “We have a lot of compounded trauma for a lot of folks who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age,” he added.
Suddenly, a ponytailed 20-something lady came to the table. “I’m sorry, but I’m not able to snap a photo right now,” he murmured quietly as he wiped his tears. “Oh, that’s all right. “I simply wanted to express how much I like the program,” she said. “I appreciate it. Namaste. “Have a wonderful day,” he murmured, his hands clasped in prayer. Mr. Van Ness sighed deeply and sipped his coffee slowly. “People don’t care whether you’re having a bad day or if you’re in the midst of a serious talk,” he remarked. “They want their sparkling J.V.N. and that huge selfie,” says the narrator.
In some ways, Mr. Van Ness’ book was a method for him to convey his experience without being interrupted. There are a few parts in the book that may cause some readers to stop. Mr. Van Ness grew up in Quincy, Illinois, a tiny Mississippi River port city where he was a self-described “little baby queen” who was willing to embrace his gender. It certainly helped to have a fairly supportive family, especially a mother, Mary Winters, whom he considers a longtime closest friend. Quincy Media, owned by Ms. Winters’ family, is a media corporation that owns 16 television stations in Illinois, Wisconsin, and other states, as well as two local newspapers. Jonathan’s father, Jon Van Ness, worked in sales and is now the company’s vice president. (When he was 5, his parents split, and his mother remarried four years later.)
His low self-esteem was severe. The trauma he endured as a youngster, as therapy would later show, sowed the seed for additional self-destructive tendencies. He spent hours in AOL chat rooms in his early teens (this was the 1990s) and hooked up with older guys for sex. After finding he was underage, one guy “became whiter than Ann Coulter’s fan group,” he writes in the book. When his stepfather died, he tried various methods to replace the emptiness, including binge eating junk food like doughnuts (he gained 70 pounds in three months).
He obtained additional credit to bypass senior year and attend the University of Arizona in Tucson, eager to get out of Quincy. During his first semester, though, he spent his mother’s $200 monthly allowance on cocaine, which he began using on weekends. He advertised sex for money on Gay.com, a chat, and personals site, rather than asking his mother for additional money (he was too humiliated and irresponsible at the time).
He dropped out of college his first year, at the age of 19, and sulked at home, his ponytail tucked between his knees. Unsure of what he wanted to do with his life, he decided to put his Barbie doll hair-styling abilities to use and enrolled in an 11-month beautician school at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, where his first clientele included numerous Somali immigrants. He relocated to Scottsdale, Ariz., after receiving his certificate (to be near his dying grandmother) and then to Los Angeles, where he worked as an assistant at a Sally Hershberger salon.
But his sex and drug addictions worsened. A couple he met on Grindr exposed him to consuming methamphetamine while he was in his early twenties. He went to treatment twice and both times relapsed. He passed out at a hairdresser while enhancing a client’s hair when he was 25 years old. He went to Planned Parenthood the following day to have his flu-like symptoms diagnosed. He was found to be infected with H.I.V. He adds, “That day was exactly as horrible as you’d expect it would be.”
He cleaned up his act, and although he still drinks and smokes marijuana, he claims he hasn’t done heavy drugs in years. And he rebuilt his life in Los Angeles using funds from a family trust. His excursion into the entertainment industry started, appropriately enough, in a hair salon. During a meeting with his buddy Erin Gibson, a Funny or Die comic, the two came up with the idea for “Gay of Thrones,” a spoof series in which Mr. Van Ness and a guest comedian provide campy, gay-themed reviews of “Game of Thrones.”
The program debuted in 2013 and quickly became popular. (It has received three Creative Arts Emmy nominations for short-form variety series.) Mr. Van Ness was soon approached for gigs as a red-carpet analyst and presenter of additional online shows. Then, in 2016, his manager phoned with some shocking news: Netflix was conducting auditions for a “Queer Eye” revival. Mr. Van Ness ultimately won the producers over after a long battle.
The “Queer Eye” group has gone from fringe LGBT characters to mainstream superstars over the course of four seasons, with Mr. Van Ness becoming one of the series’ breakthrough stars. He faces the humiliation associated with traction alopecia, a kind of hair loss that mostly affects black women, in a recent episode set in Kansas City, Mo. It’s an issue seldom tackled on television, and much less often by a white person.
“Jonathan treating this sister with traction alopecia with love is more care than I can remember a typical black lady receiving on TV ever,” Tressie McMillan Cottom, an author, and professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University remarked on Twitter. (When he saw the tweet, he busted out laughing.) With his biography, Mr. Van Ness aims to raise attention to such “beautiful beauty moments,” particularly misperceptions about being HIV positive. He is presently in good health and identifies himself as a “wonderful H.I.V.-positive community member.”
“It was incredibly tough when ‘Queer Eye’ came out because I was like, ‘Do I want to speak about my status?'” he remarked. “And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done all they can to ensure that stigmatization of the L.G.B.T. community thrives around me,'” she said. “I do feel the need to speak about this,” he said after a little pause. Mr. Van Ness was stopped once again as he was ready to take a mouthful of his eggs at the restaurant. A youthful young guy popped his head in the window this time to express his enthusiasm.
Mr. Van Ness continued his thoughts after another “namaste,” which seems to be his shorthand for “kindly depart.” “These are all challenging issues to discuss on a hair and cosmetic makeover program,” he remarked. “This isn’t to say that ‘Queer Eye’ isn’t valuable, but I want people to understand that you’re never too broken to be mended.”
Personal Profile Jonathan Van Ness
- Name: Jonathan Van Ness
- Date of Birth: 28 March 1987
- Age: 34 years
- Birth Sign: Aries
- Nationality: American
- Parents: Mary Winters
- Siblings: NA
- Birth Place/City: Quincy, Illinois, United States
- Profession: hairdresser, podcast host, activist, actor, author
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