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Jonathan Van Ness: Everything We Know

June 6, 2020
4 min read

Jonathan Van Ness or JVN, as we know him is probably the most fabulous member of the Fab Five in ‘Queer Eye.’ The five stars of the series take over every aspect of a participant’s life and makeover not just their appearance, but how they feel about themselves as well. And Jonathan, the in house hairdresser, is responsible for the outer look. While we do get to see a lot of the participant’s personal life, we only get teasing glimpses of the stars’. So, we have compiled all that we know about JVN, right here.

Jonathan Van Ness Family

Jonathan Van Ness was born on March 28, 1987 (age 33) in Quincy, Illinois. He is the son of Jon Van Ness, who worked in sales and Mary Winters. His parents got divorced when he was 5, and his mother remarried four years later, but JVN was raised in his hometown, a small port city along the Mississippi River, and spent most of his life there.

JVN comes from a family of journalists, being the sixth generation of their family-owned business, Quincy Media, a media company that operates 16 television stations as well as two local newspapers. His mother, Mary Oakley Winters, is the vice president of the company. He is a descendant of the Oakley family, who has been in control of the company since the 1890s.

JVN hasn’t ever been shy about talking about his mother. He considers her to be his best friend and has stated that her support is the only reason that he has been able to survive and thrive in life. As he has been openly gay his whole life, he has faced a lot of backlash and harassment from people growing up because of his feminine dressing sense and lifestyle. Even though he was comfortable with who he was and was accepted by his family, he struggled with people’s reactions towards him.

Jonathan Van Ness Struggles

JVN has been bullied most of his life because of his femininity and flamboyance. He has been judged and ridiculed for his fashion choices and for his way of being. And unfortunately, it was no different when he was younger. Growing up in a small town, he faced all of these things, and along with that, he was even sexually abused by an older boy at church, which triggered the start of JVN’s self-destructive behavior.

During his teenage years, he used to go online and talk to older men, sometimes even meeting them for sex. When he went to college on a cheerleading scholarship after being the first male cheerleader at his high school, things got worse. He used up all his allowance money on drugs and too ashamed to ask his mother and step-father for financial help; he started doing sex-work. JVN became addicted to sex and drugs, which led to his grades falling and him losing his scholarship.

After that, he got into hairdressing and started from the bottom of the career ladder. He trained at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, after which he worked in Arizona for five years before moving to Los Angeles, California, in 2009. However, while working on a client in 2012, he fainted and discovered he was HIV positive, so that got added to his list of struggles as well.

Jonathan Van Ness Boyfriend

JVN is the only member of the Fab Five who is currently single. The 6-foot flamboyant beauty was in a relationship with Wilco Froneman, but they broke up just a short while later. He did spark dating rumors with his ‘Queer Eye’ costar Antoni Porowski in 2019 after they posted a lot of photos of them getting cozy together, but it turned out to be a prank on the fans.

Years after he left the bullying and shaming childhood behind, he realized that he was gender non-conforming, and came out as non-binary in mid-2019. But, he still prefers he/him pronouns. Right now, JVN is focusing on his well-being, his career, his podcast – Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness – and self-love. He wants to celebrate himself for who he is and hopes that everyone can do the same as well.

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