Most people recognise Jonathan Van Ness from either his work on Netflix's make-over show, 'Queer Eye', his time on the shortform comedy series 'Gay of Thrones', or his podcast, 'Getting Curious', where he interviews people from fields of his own interest.
In short, in the space of a couple of years, he's become a household name to anyone with a Netflix account and the transition is no doubt jarring. In a revealing interview with the New York Times, Van Ness discussed - among other things - his life before 'Queer Eye', much of which is discussed in his upcoming memoir, 'Over The Top: A Raw Journey To Self-Love'.
Van Ness spoke openly about his drug abuse with methamphetamine and his sex addiction, which he believes stemmed from being molested by an older child when he was four years old. Eventually, Van Ness described how, shortly after the death of his stepfather, he was told he was HIV positive.
"It occurred to me: what if everything I’ve ever been through was preparing me for this moment – to be strong enough to share this, and to share it on my own terms," he told The Guardian. "Part of that for me is to process what’s happened, but the bigger part is that I wanted to do something to move the conversation forward in a meaningful way around HIV/Aids, and what it is to live with HIV, and to humanise and normalise a lot of the things I talk about."
As he discusses in his interview with the New York Times, Van Ness was initially unwilling to talk about his status. "When 'Queer Eye' came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?” he told them. “And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the LGBT community thrive around me.’ I do feel the need to talk about this … These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup."
"That doesn’t mean 'Queer Eye' is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed."
Van Ness' memoir, 'Over The Top: A Raw Journey To Self-Love', is available in bookstores now.