If you’re lucky, Jonathan Van Ness is blowing up your social media feeds as we speak. His dynamite content combination of photos from celebrity events, healthy wellness product endorsements, videos from ice skating practice and front handsprings, and commentary on important societal/political conversations with influencers and people of note make him perhaps one of the most dynamic people to follow today. His love for exfoliants is what brought him to your TV screen on Queer Eye, but his capacity to engage, inform, entertain, and educate is what makes him such an iconic person of note. Additionally, Jonathan Van Ness came out as non-binary in a recent interview with OUT.com, spreading the important conversation of sexual identity and fluidity even more.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the hit reboot series Queer Eye, the show follows a new "Fab Five" made up of interior designer Bobby Berk, fashion guru Tan France, healthy chef Antoni Porowski, culture expert Karamo Brown, and of course, beauty and grooming icon Jonathan Van Ness (whom I lovingly refer to as JVN a la his Instagram handle). The series follows the Fab Five as they meet with individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual identities, and walks of life to help them embrace a happier, healthier life.
For JVN, this seems to be his guiding light, his endless mantra: Find what you adore and makes you feel good, then embrace it fully.
JVN spoke with OUT while promoting his partnership with Essie on everything from nail polish to Celine Dion to Pride month. It was here that he explained he identifies as non-binary.
Van Ness said, "The older I get, the more I think that I’m non-binary — I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don’t really — I think my energies are really all over the place."
According to JVN, his feminine identity is what makes him strongest. "All the people that I look up to the most, that I want to emulate the most are like 90% women. The people who shaped me the most was my mom, my grandma — it’s Gloria, Celine, Aretha, Shania, Mariah."
Later, when discussing identifying as "non-binary," Van Ness said: "I didn’t really put that together with ‘gender nonconforming’ or ‘nonbinary’ or owning that as an identity until recent because I think I just thought that I loved skirts and heels and like a kind of Whole Foods Face." (Regarding a "Whole Foods Face" he meant simple, natural, and subtle makeup. I, too, love a Whole Foods Face.)
In fact, JVN uses lots of fun wordplay to describe himself. "I just am either like gender-bendy or nonconform-y or nonbinary and somedays I feel like a boy and somedays I feel like a girl," he explained. "I didn’t think I was allowed to be nonconforming or genderqueer or nonbinary — I was just always like ‘a gay man’ because that’s just the label I thought I had to be."
When asked if identifying as non-binary was a new revelation, JVN responded, "Well like, no. I just didn’t know what the name was." He added, "I’ve been wearing heels and wearing makeup and wearing skirts and stuff for a minute, honey. I just like didn’t know that that meant — that I had a title."
If you think about it, aren’t Gloria, Celine, Aretha, Shania, and Mariah the individuals who shaped all of us? Let’s add Jonathan Van Ness to the list, too.
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