7 Fabulous Facts You Need To Know About 'Queer Eye' Hair Guru Jonathan Van Ness

He's the best thing to happen to hair since we said goodbye to scrunchies.

Who Is Jonathan Van Ness? 6 Facts About The Queer Eye Hair Stylist Instagram

If you aren't yet asking yourself, "Who is Jonathan Van Ness?" you are clearly missing out on something big, because the man behind the hair on smash hit series Queer Eye is turning heads everywhere, and for plenty of good reason.

Netflix recently dropped the season two of the hit show, and I can barely go from one website to the next without being slammed with rave reviews for the new venture.

For those of you who aren't familiar, in early 2018, Netflix brought back the early aughts smash hit Queer Eye For The Straight Guy as the more universally targeted Queer Eye, and in the first season, the new cast was nothing if not a pure delight.


Unlike other makeover shows on TV, this isn't about transforming a person's looks by forcing them to squeeze inside someone else's idea of what style is. Queer Eye is about uplifting people, fostering inner transformations, and connecting with the world around you.

Seriously, I don't go to church anymore because this show has become my church.

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That said, I embarrassingly ignored the first season for a long, long time, even when everyone I know (and their mothers) told me how much I would love it. I assumed it would be a tired rehash of the show's original incarnation, and I didn't think it possible than any of the new guys could compare to the original fab five.

But ... it was clear after watching five minutes of the first episode just how wrong I was.

Not only are the members of the new fab five a delight, but they might be (yeah, I'm going there) even BETTER than the original cast!

And leading the pack with his flowing brown tresses, ebullient attitude, and killer sense of humor is Jonathan Van Ness.


As the show's grooming consultant, it's his job to help men and women find their best selves when it comes to how they're doing their hair and their makeup.

Sure, that's all surface stuff, but Van Ness does it all with heart, style, and with a true love for every single person he encounters.

Seriously, you get the feeling that if you were to ever go see this man for a haircut, you'd both be crying and holding each other by the end, swapping numbers and swearing you'll be friends for life.

To that end, I did a bit of digging to find out more about this amazing man, so get ready to learn all about the man behind the mane.

Here are six essential facts to know about Jonathan Van Ness, hair guru on season two of Netflix series Queer Eye.


1. He was the first male cheerleader at his high school.

Van Ness knew from a young age that he was gay, and it wasn't something he ever tried to hide. Growing up in Quincy, Illinois, this meant he wasn't always accepted by his peers. In fact, his experiences of being bullied started early on, and the bullying was extreme, including death threats made to him on many occasions.

Van Ness turned to humor in order to help him cope. Luckily, he also had a small tight-knit group of friends to help him get through it all without letting the bullies win or even dampen his spirits.

In fact, by the time he was a senior in high school he felt confident enough to actually become the first male cheerleader at his high school!

So if you were wondering if his passion and energy were real — they are and always have been.


“If my energy was fake," he once told Vogue, "then I would feel pressured, because I gotta, like, keep this up. I thank God it’s just how I am. But I find myself wanting to work on being more comfortable in the silence with people."

Gimme a J! Gimme an O! Gimme an N! ... I mean, you get where I'm going with this.

2. He's a man on the move.

Van Ness couldn't be held back in Illinois for long. After graduating high school, he enrolled in a local college, but dropped out before his senior year to pursue his dream of becoming a well-known hairstylist.

In order to accomplish this dream, he studied at the Aveda institute in Minneapolis, and then moved to Arizona where he lived for five years.


From Arizona he moved to Los Angeles, and he currently divides his time between Los Angeles and New York.

3. YOU, too, can book an appointment with him!

In addition to styling hair on the show, Van Ness owns two salons of his own.

He runs both MoJoHair and at Stile Salon in Los Angeles with his partner-in-style, Monique Northrop.

He also still cuts hair when he's in New York at the Arte Salon, where he's booked months in advance, so if you're game, better get your trim booked now!

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4. He had his own web series on YouTube's Funny or Die.

You wouldn't expect a hair dresser to become a celebrity, but spend just five minutes listening to Van Ness and it's easy to see why people are so drawn to him.


His big entertainment break came when he was styling the hair of Funny or Die's Erin Gibson. The two got to talking about his favorite show, Game of Thrones, and before you know it, Erin was asking him if he would be open to pitching his recaps — which he dubbed Gay of Thrones — to the folks at Funny or Die.

They loved it so much that they gave Jonathan his very own web series, which thrust him into the public eye in a major way.

5. He hosts bi-weekly podcast "Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness"

Van Ness has had his own podcast since 2015.


When it first launched, it wasn't insanely popular, but over time it's grown a solid following.

And while you might expect a hairdresser to talk about style and beauty tips, hair is far from the only thing that matters to him. He's tackled everything from the Romanovs to Brexit, and all with his signature wit and energy.


6. Queer Eye

Media coverage of both Gay of Thrones and "Getting Curious" helped Van Ness attract an agent, and before long he was cast as the grooming specialist on Queer Eye.

Van Ness says he has been in therapy since his early 20s, and it shows, as he's learned along the way not to trust the bad voices we al hear inside our own heads from time-to-time, but rather to practice self-care with love and abandon.

"If I trusted all my feelings, I would literally be in my mom's basement with a bag of powdered doughnuts on this side, a family size thing of the brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts on this side, with the toaster on the coffee table, and I would eat one pack untoasted and one pack toasted, like I would alternate, then shove handfuls of mini powdered doughnut gems in my mouth, while watching old Olympic free skates and women's team all-around gymnastics," he said in one interview.

He was drawn to "Queer Eye" by it's spirit and heart, which he felt were so wonderfully different than those of other shows of its ilk.


"In those old reality shows, they would let them go shop or whatever and then they would crash and be like, 'this is all wrong, don't get those clothes' It's like, [excuse] you, I want my leggings. Queer Eye is stepping out of those boxes. If you want to have body hair, I'm not telling you to wax your body hair. But if you do say that you want to be hairless, then like, alright, let's unpack it, let's exfoliate it first and make sure we have some nice assuaging body care products so we don't get ingrown weird zits and stuff, if you want to be hairless. But I'm also like, 'Why do you want to be hairless?' I kind of want people to get to where they want to get, I just want to help them get there in the healthiest, best way possible."

Now he's sharing that message with people everywhere!

7. He's come out...as HIV positive and a recovering addict

Jonathan has written a new memoir called Over the Top and in it he reveals that he's HIV postive and a recovering drug addict. When he was 19 and in college he blow his allowance on cocaine. Instead of asking his mom for money, he placed ads for sex online. Eventually, he flunked out of college. He got his beautician certificate and moved to LA where his drug addiction worsened. He got hooked on methamphetamine. He did two stints in rehab but relapsed both times. Then, at 25, he fainted while working on a client's hair. He went to Planned Parenthood to have his flu-like symptoms treated. Instead he found out he was HIV-positive. He told the New York Times: "That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be." He is now recovered from his addiction to hard drugs and describes himself as a "member of the beautiful HIV positive community."

And the rest, as they say, is history.


Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.