Jonathan Van Ness (JVN) is a wildly popular LGBTQ+ celebrity and nonbinary influencer. Originally a hairdresser, he rose to fame for his web series Gay of Thrones, a hilarious parody in which he would review recent episodes of the popular HBO Series, Game of Thrones. JVN further launched his career when he was named the grooming expert on the Netflix series Queer Eye.Today, he hosts a popular podcast, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, and recently released his first book, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, in September 2019.
I loved Jonathan’s touching memoir, which reveals never-told-before stories about his life including his struggles with child sexual abuse, body image, drug addiction, prostitution, and being diagnosed with HIV, among other profound experiences.
As described in the summary, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away knowing that no matter how broken or lost you may be, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you’re strong, and you’ve got this.”
A beam of hope and inspiration for many both within and beyond the LGBTQ+ spectrum, below are 101 of the best Jonanthan Van Ness (JVN) quotes ever written down. Enjoy!
101 Jonanthan Van Ness (JVN) Quotes
1. I want people to fall in love with themselves and to be really proud and full of joy for the space they take up. If someone else appreciates the space you take up, then that’s icing on the cake.
2. I had to fight, a lot of years, to be really proud of the person I see in the mirror and really love this person.
3. To me, self-care isn’t really shallow. Showing up for yourself, putting on a little moisturizer, can inspire so many different parts of your life.
4. I love changing hair color. I love doing hair shape. I love the social aspect of salons. I love clients, and because of doing hair, I’ve heard so many life stories.
5. You have to create little pockets of joy in your life to take care of yourself.
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6. Self-care is the non-negotiable. That’s the thing that you have to do. And beauty is the thing that can be the benefit of the self-care. Beauty is not the point. Beauty is just a cute side-effect from self-care.
7. If my energy was fake, 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.
8. Be able to see people’s humanity. I think the way that you do that and see people for more than their surface value is, say, you’re reading something in the news: the gender pay gap, or gay adoption, anything that involves a group of people being marginalized.
9. When I moved to L.A. in my early twenties, I was growing my hair. Then, when I was 25, I cut it off and was like, ‘Oh no, I think I’m a long hair person until I go bald!’
10. I’ve worn a 100% polyester cheerleading outfit in stadiums full of people – it is pretty hard to embarrass me.
11. How you take care of yourself is how the world sees you. It’s OK to have a relationship with yourself.
12. I’m a big proponent of all love winning and love just being fab.
13. Please don’t compare the nature and authenticity of ‘Queer Eye’ to ‘The Bachelor.’
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14. Getting married is a good time to reevaluate all of your relationships. Have you had the same haircut since seventh grade? Have you found products that work for your skin? You need time to experiment.
15. So often, grooming is meant to make you feel better about yourself, and a lot of times, we use it to make ourselves feel worse.
16. I’m obsessed with gymnastics. It’s like my football. And I like to watch women’s gymnastics a little bit more than men’s because I live for balance beam.
17. When you’ve been on Instagram and Twitter long enough, you know how mean people can be.
18. Spray, delay, and walk away.
19. It wasn’t an option for me to be closeted or to keep it to myself. Sky’s blue, grass is green. Can’t fight it.
20. You can’t selectively numb feelings. So, if you try to numb the vulnerability, you also numb joy, happiness, connection.
21. You’re strong, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you got this.
22. Whenever I find it hard to concentrate, I come up with a reward system. Like for every 30 minutes of work that I do, I get a cookie.
23. I’m really about body positivity and self-love, and I will definitely push the boundary with a pink midriff-baring top.
24. From the extreme political polarization that is everywhere – there’s so much suffering going on – so many people are really thirsty to feel good about something.
25. We focus so much on our relationships with other people, and beauty, for me, is about facilitating your relationship with yourself.
26. I think that I’m, like, an introverted extrovert. At the end of the day, when I get done doing hair at the salon or shooting a day of ‘Queer Eye’ or whatever, I definitely want to come home and, like, order pasta and sit with my cat or just one person or no people.
27. I was really, really, really feminine and really into cheerleading and really into figure skating and really into gymnastics. Really into everything that other boys weren’t.
28. In yoga, we say that everyone has a magnet on them, and you’re either positively or negatively charged. So if you’re liking how you’re looking, you’re gonna be more positively charged.
29. If you have body hair, I’m like, ‘Have your body hair. Have it sticking up the top of your shirt.’ I’m really about body positivity and self-love.
30. One of my closest friends is a trans man who is incredible. And a lot of my clients are trans women.
31. It’s nice to have a safe place to have a conversation going; whether it’s a friend or family member, you can use ‘Queer Eye’ as an entry point to have a conversation that’s meaningful.
32. Blotting pads are great in case you get sweaty or oily. But don’t rub. It’s a slow, methodical blot: set the pad on your skin and let it absorb, then move it to the next location.
33. I am shocked almost on a daily basis that my being me everywhere I go affects people so deeply.
34. Whenever anyone says I’ve taught them things by me being myself, I’m always like, ‘Really? I just thought that was like, Wednesday for me. I was just wearing a kilt and a sleeveless top in a Rotary Club, it wasn’t that big of a deal.’
35. For keeping hair long and healthy, I like to use silk pillowcases; they conduct less heat and keep your ends less frayed. Also, I sleep with my hair in a very loose top bun to keep my ends away from my body heat. This also keeps your hair from getting tangled at the nape of your neck.
36. I think my ability to joke and laugh about things is because I’m forced to. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life that, if I didn’t make light of it, I would literally keel over.
37. I started growing my hair out when I was, like, 22, 23. I just stopped cutting it.
38. I’m from a really little town called Quincy, five hours southwest of Chicago.
39. Typically, you’re not gonna find me out at night; I don’t go to industry parties. Like, I will go sometimes if I’m invited, but usually, I’m, like, home by 11.
40. The second you’re bleaching hair more than three or four levels on a consistent basis and want it long, and then you’re heat styling it and living in the world – it’s just impossible. You can get it there for a moment, and then you might get a couple re-touches out of it.
41. I love a company that puts their money where their mouth is when it comes to LGBTQIA visibility.
42. As a kid growing up, I really hated being alone. I was always that kid that was like, ‘Do you want to hang out? Let’s go to the mall. Let’s go to the movies. Let’s go to the park.’ I would call people and call people and call people. If I was alone when I wasn’t at school, then there was something wrong.
43. Saying, ‘I wanna let you know I’m inviting you into my life, and I want you to be a part of it,’ is the healthiest thing you can do.
44. For keeping hair long and healthy, I like to use silk pillowcases; they conduct less heat and keep your ends less frayed. Also, I sleep with my hair in a very loose top bun to keep my ends away from my body heat. This also keeps your hair from getting tangled at the nape of your neck.
45. When people say, ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,’ it’s not true, because you can reinvent yourself and learn new things whenever you want.
46. You being your true self isn’t going to offend anybody. It’s very unlikely that people are going to cause you an issue just because you are being yourself. And if they’re concerned, that’s on them. You’re happy.
47. You can’t selectively numb feelings. So, if you try to numb the vulnerability, you also numb joy, happiness, connection.
48. Whatever role you are whether it’s like moon or sun, moon being more feminine energy and sun being more masculine, I think there is gorgeous strength to be held in both.
49. Thank you. Namaste. Have a nice day.
50. When people build up walls, they end up keeping other people out. But they’re also keeping themselves in.
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51. I’ve had the honor of working with so many trans people as a hairdresser over my career in some way.
52. When I’m having a song-in-the-shower moment, I go to ‘The Blessed Unrest’ by Sara Bareilles.
53. I want my partner to look at me and think I respect them enough to make an effort.
54. I hope sharing my story of surviving sexual abuse encourages others to know that we are all capable of healing.
55. Don’t get stuck in a rut with your margarita.
56. I’m committed to bringing awareness and visibility to all the communities that HIV continues to disproportionality impact. My only issue here is that I’m described as cis-gender and I’m not, I’m non-binary.
57. To my younger self, I would say unless you’re literally in danger, ask forgiveness instead of asking permission. There are times when you should listen to what people say about you, but also a lot of times you just don’t need to listen so much.
58. I’m doing work that I’m passionate about and I do it authentically, reminding myself that this moment is beautiful for me and proud femme, non-binary people.
59. There’s no right or wrong way to be gay. No right or wrong way to come out. It’s your journey, do it the way you wanna do it.
60. I heard a preacher once say, ‘Sometimes when you’re feeling buried, you’re actually just planted.
61. How you take care of yourself is how the world sees you. It’s OK to have a relationship with yourself.
62. You’re strong, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you got this.
63. You need to not write checks that you cannot cash.
64. You’re just like owning your space and stuff.
65. Since I have psoriasis, I buy anything that feels good against my skin. I tend to wear really, really soft hoodies by the brand Velvet. Even if I don’t have a flare-up, I’m still like: Oh. My. God. This nice thing feels so good.
66. Don’t worry so much and just go. Unless you’re, like, in dange and then don’t. And then run, girl.
67. My mom’s an ovarian cancer survivor and she’s been cancer free for four years. And my favorite thing about her is that she, too, has a spirit that can pull it up and get it together.
68. It wasn’t an option for me to be closeted or to keep it to myself. Sky’s blue, grass is green. Can’t fight it.
69. When people say ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ it’s not true, because you can reinvent yourself and learn new things whenever you want.
70. I wanna show straight and gay men alike that self-care and grooming isn’t mutually exclusive with femininity or masculinity.
71. You can’t selectively numb feelings. So if you try to numb the vulnerability, you also numb joy, happiness, connection. You can’t have connection and joy and happiness without vulnerability.”
72. When people build up walls, they end up keeping other people out. But they’re also keeping themselves in.
73. Does my hair look insane? Yes it does, but it’s fierce so I don’t care.
74. Whatever role you are whether it’s like moon or sun, moon being more feminine energy and sun being more masculine, I think there is gorgeous strength to be held in both.
75. How you take care of yourself is how the world sees you. It’s okay to have a relationship with yourself.
76. Podcasts are hard! I mean, you gotta get the microphones and all these things… there’s a lot going on there. I never really realized how much goes into producing things till I did ‘Gay of Thrones.’
77. We’re all just trying to do the best we can with what we know.
78. In service industries, we can be so people-pleaser-y that you don’t know how to set your own boundaries.
79. I want people to fall in love with themselves and to be really proud and full of joy for the space they take up. If someone else appreciates the space you take up, then that’s icing on the cake.
80. When you’re willing to be vulnerable, you can surprise yourself at how strong you can be.
81. We focus so much on our relationships with other people, and beauty, for me, is about facilitating your relationship with yourself.
82. It’s not vanity, it’s self care, there’s a difference.
83. I think my ability to joke and laugh about things is because I’m forced to. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life that, if I didn’t make light of it, I would literally keel over.
84. I was someone who wore bright purple sweatsuits with tall Doc Martens boots. I would iron Hanson decals on my sweatshirt. I was extremely flamboyant as a child.
85. I am shocked almost on a daily basis that my being me everywhere I go affects people so deeply.
86. I’ve been through a lot, I’ve experienced pain and suffering. I think because of that, even when things aren’t good, I can find moments of joy and pockets of gratitude.
87. I used to be pretty hard on myself, like, if I didn’t like a haircut I did on someone, I would think about it a lot and second-guess myself. But after therapy and a lot of work, I know how to dust myself off a lot faster, and those things don’t knock me down as much as they used to.
88. I love changing hair color. I love doing hair shape. I love the social aspect of salons. I love clients, and because of doing hair, I’ve heard so many life stories.
89. To me, self-care isn’t really shallow. Showing up for yourself, putting on a little moisturizer, can inspire so many different parts of your life.
90. I wish I had more of a game plan of how I’m going to, like, take down toxic masculinity. But I think that game plan is just going to reveal itself if we keep going. I think I need to keep plugging along, and it’ll happen.
91. If I could only have one grooming tool, it would be floss. I don’t want to have broken Cheetos in my teeth. To protect myself from the sun, I can find shade under a tree. To moisturize my skin, I could get really sweaty and then just rub it on myself. But how are you going to clean between your teeth without floss?
92. We’re all just trying to do the best we can with what we know!
93. I want to show straight men and gay men alike that self-care and grooming isn’t mutually exclusive with, like, femininity or masculinity.
94. Leaving your hair down to sleep causes friction on your ends between your body heat and the pillow case. Securing the ends away from your body helps preserve your ends.
95. Going to school was an absolute terror for me for, like, a decade.
96. I always wanted to play with people’s hair. I was really into ‘The Golden Girls’ and how big their hair was. I always had Barbies and Ken dolls, whose hair I wanted to play with and was always styling. I was very lucky – I never had to wonder what I was passionate about. I’ve always known that I’m really, really passionate about grooming.
97. The only time I’ve ever liked Reno was at the end of Sister Act when all the ladies had to go save Whoopi from those evil mob sharks. That was fierce. But other than that Reno does not have a place in my heart.
98. I think that because I struggled and did get very bullied, that definitely made me learn how to be funny and let things roll off and be able to laugh, and I think that has definitely helped me when it comes to being in the public eye with ‘Gay of Thrones’ and ‘Queer Eye.’
99. I went from being pretty fit to 230 lbs., which isn’t, like, the biggest for being 6-feet-tall, but I had been 165 lbs. just three months prior. That taught me a lot about how people treat you differently when you’re fit and when you’re bigger.
100. I don’t do negativity, it’s not my thing, it’s not on brand for me.
101. Beauty and grooming should be these gorgeous bursts of wind beneath your wings so you can figure out how to feel a little cuter and look in the mirror and get those endorphins and be like, ‘I feel good!’
Do you have other JVN quotes that you love? If so, share them in the comments below and we’ll add them to this post!