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A Queer Eye Queen & His Journey to Self-Love

Johnathan Van Ness is best known as the sassy, fun-loving and hip groomer on Netflix’s remake of Queer Eye. If you’ve ever watched the show, you’d know that JVN seems like the happiest person on the earth. He owns who he is. He’s an inspiration for everyone.

Even more so now.

Johnathan Van Ness recently announced that he was coming out with a memoir all about his life experiences titled Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love. He reveals a couple of truth bombs nobody saw coming in the most beautiful and vulnerable way. 

He first opens up about his childhood experience with sexual abuse. An older boy in his church left him feeling shameful and traumatized.

“For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma.” 

This trauma followed him into adulthood and set him up for all of his future obstacles.

Van Ness struggled with thoughts we’ve all felt before; he felt as if he didn’t fit in during high school. He used AOL chat rooms to find older men to have sex with as his coping mechanism, something he’s extremely embarrassed of. When he left for college, he turned to drugs and ended up becoming addicted to cocaine.

He eventually ended up in rehab for a various amount of addictions.

Through these struggles, he found his true passion. After flunking out of college in Arizona, he found himself enrolling in beautician school. While he was much happier, he still battled with addiction every day. 

However, one day after visiting a local Planned Parenthood after experiencing flu-like symptoms, he received news that would change his life forever. 

He was HIV positive.

“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he writes.

After hearing this news, he cleaned up his act. He stopped using hard drugs and quit drinking as much. He decided to start fresh in Los Angeles, where he started a hit podcast called Gay of Thrones, where he and a guest comedian did gay-themed recaps of the popular TV show Game of Thrones.

Soon after, he was offered multiple jobs, including the host of Netflix’s remake of Queer Eye. Since then, his popularity has skyrocketed. I mean, come on, everyone loves JVN (aka the gay fairy godmother)! 

As you can probably tell, coming out with something so personal and raw is never easy for a person. Let alone someone with a million eyes on them at all times.

We can all commend Jonathan Van Ness for his bravery and for trying to end the stigma against men who are HIV positive. 

His memoir is totally transparent and eye-opening for everyone. You never truly know what someone has gone through or how far they’ve come. Thank you JVN, for sharing your story. 

“These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup,” he said. “That doesn’t mean ‘Queer Eye’ is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.” 





Alyssa Ginzburg

Illinois State '22

Hi! I'm Alyssa Ginzburg and I'm a Senior at ISU & I'm studying Middle Level Education! I love writing, fashion, and all things women empowering, which makes Her Campus the perfect environment to share my voice! Check out my Instagram and Twitter if you want to know more! :) Instagram: @alyssaginzburg Twitter: @AlyssaRhea1
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