Most people are probably familiar with the show Queer Eye. The original, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, was released in 2003 and reeled in nearly 7 million viewers.
The 2018 reboot was received equally warmly. It won three Emmy Awards last year and has been nominated for six more in 2019.
With all this success it’s hardly surprising that the Fab 5 boasts a total of 14.5 million Instagram followers. Front and center is The Hollywood Reporter’s Man of the Year, Jonathan Van Ness.
Head of grooming and podcast host, you only have to scroll through Jonathan Van Ness’ Instagram to see evidence of his amazing adventures. But what’s the real secret to his success? Could it be his amazing authenticity?
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Read on to find out the top tips for living authentically that we can learn from Jonathan Van Ness.
Be True to Yourself
When it comes to authenticity, this is the number one rule. Being true to yourself is about embracing everything that you are, both good and bad, and sharing it with the world.
As we’ve all seen on Queer Eye, sometimes this involves accepting a challenge we never thought we’d overcome. On the show, Van Ness acknowledges his own struggles. He opens up about everything from his struggle with depression through to how he conquers his skincare woes.
In doing so he accepts every part of who he is and embraces his authentic self.
Van Ness’ Instagram page is full of videos of him learning new skills that interest him. Not content to be just ‘Jonathan from Queer Eye’ he has worked hard mastering gymnastics and figure skating. It’s a testament to chasing your goals, regardless of what expectations other people might have for you.
But Van Ness also acknowledges that this hasn’t always been the case. In an interview with Dazed, he recounts the story of when he cut his hair short to please an ex-partner. Shortly after they broke up, he realized the importance of doing things for himself and not because others want you to. It’s an extremely important lesson for all of us.
Jonathan Van Ness Sticks to His Guns
When being true to yourself, it’s important to stick to what feels right. Van Ness was recently interviewed by Vulture. During this interview, he spoke out against a Supreme Court ruling that favored a homophobic bakery’s refusal to bake a gay couple a cake.
While even some of his co-stars didn’t agree with his stance, Van Ness stuck to his argument. He discussed the matter with passion and an awareness of the legal implications of this case.
This kind of commitment to his beliefs was inspiring. It also demonstrates his remarkable authenticity even in the face of opposition.
But this example also shows how Van Ness goes a step further when it comes to presenting an argument. He takes the time to inform himself about the facts before discussing an issue.
This allows him to make a sound, logical judgment that he can back up. And this leads us to our next point.
Authenticity Means Acknowledging Your Blindspots
While a lot of his early Queer Eye content featured his light-hearted and fun-loving side, Jonathan Van Ness’ podcast has revealed an engaging, curious, and intellectual side of him.
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness shows us that you can always work to expand your understanding of the world. This weekly podcast welcomes experts in a variety of fields to discuss topics that Van Ness is interested in. One of my favorite episodes was his interview with Alok Vaid-Menon, a gender non-conforming performance artist, educator, and writer.
He’s also covered everything from Yemen to immigration to how to write pop music, making the podcast a great place to start expanding your horizons.
It also teaches us that gaps in our knowledge don’t have to be weaknesses. Acknowledging our flaws and blindspots is key to becoming our most successful and authentic selves.
Welcome Everyone In
A welcoming heart and a friendly personality are clearly a must-have for anyone working on Queer Eye. After all, it’s a show about accepting yourself and embracing people for who they are. But Van Ness takes it to the next level.
Whether it’s giving a home to cats from a shelter or cutting a friend’s hair in his bathroom, Van Ness has time for it all. This is probably part of the reason for the success that his mini-series Gay of Thrones received.
In the show, Van Ness summarizes the latest episode of HBO’s Games of Thrones with a special guest. The episodes are funny, well-edited and flow naturally. A lot of this must be thanks to Van Ness’ skill as a host.
Furthermore, all of this seems effortless to him. There’s no sense that he’s performing or creating a public image to sell tour tickets or secure book releases. He seems fully aware of the joy and fulfillment you can get simply by listening to people and welcoming them into your life.
This goes far beyond not judging a book by its cover. Welcome people in, listen to their stories and share their experiences. You might be surprised how much you can learn.
Get Ready to Walk in His Footsteps
Or better still, carve your own path. Using these amazing lessons from Jonathan Van Ness, we all have the ability to make our own authentic way in the world.
Of course, I’ve also pre-ordered JVN’s upcoming book Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, which is being released in just a few days on September 24, 2019!