Jonathan Van Ness
Jonathan Van Ness is an entertainer, television personality, and podcaster best known for his work on Netflix mega-hit Queer Eye – and his long hair. Van Ness was born in 1987 in Quincy, Illinois, a small town located on the Mississippi River. Van Ness was his high school’s first male cheerleader, a passion he carried into his collegiate years. Van Ness says that he always knew he was gay, even as a middle-schooler, and embraced his sexuality early on rather than trying to hide who he is. After high school, Van Ness attended the University of Arizona on a cheerleading scholarship, where he studied political science. However, his grades suffered and he lost his scholarship because, in his words, he kept missing class to catch The Golden Girls re-runs. Van Ness did some soul searching and decided he wanted to be a hairdresser. He studied at the Aveda Institute and then worked as a hairdresser for several years.
Van Ness built up a solid reputation and eventually opened his own hair salon – MojoHair – in Los Angeles. Van Ness’ big showbiz break came when he was working on ‘Funny Or Die’ producer Erin Gibson’s hair. He went on a rant about Game of Thrones as he was styling her hair, and she pitched Van Ness on doing a Thrones recap show for Funny or Die. The resulting product, ‘Gay of Thrones,’ was an instant hit, with each episode racking up hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of views. The show even earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series. Gay of Thrones threw the Hollywood door wide open for Van Ness. High profile clients came to his salon. He started a podcast. And, most importantly, he was cast as the grooming expert Netflix’s reboot of ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ – a fitting job title for the man with the most stylish hair in the business. Queer Eye proved to be a massive hit for Netflix and has since been nominated for (and won) Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, People’s Choice Awards, and GLAAD Media Awards. The show has vaulted JVN from Hollywood hair stylist to pop culture icon. But JVN keeps it real; When Queer Eye isn’t filming, he’s back in Los Angeles at the hair salon, styling the stars. In addition to all his successes, JVN is also ordained as a Universal Life Church minister. In June 2019, Van Ness used his ordination to officiate the wedding of a same-sex couple in Seattle as part of Pride Month celebration. Whether on-screen, in the salon, or up at the altar, JVN’s infectious personality and natural talent always seems to shine through. Click to watch the fan wedding.
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