Jonathan Van Ness, often referred to as "JVN," was born and raised in Illinois. Van Ness attended the University of Arizona but subsequently dropped out after one semester to pursue hair-styling. He trained at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis. After graduating, he worked in Arizona for 5 years before moving to Los Angeles in 2009. Upon his arrival with no work arrangement or plan in LA, he found a job as a personal assistant at Sally Hershberger Salon.
In 2013, Van Ness was working on the hair of his friend Erin Gibson, who worked for the comedy website Funny or Die. She asked him to perform his recap of a "Game of Thrones" episode, which led to the creation of the "Gay of Thrones" web series, a witty social commentary series recapping the HBO show. Van Ness was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series for the series in both 2016 and 2018.
Van Ness also has a podcast called "Getting Curious," a biweekly exploration of current events, activism and things he is curious about: from the history of the Armenian Genocide to the opioid crisis in the U.S. The podcast was started in 2015, but really took off upon the airing of the first "Queer Eye" episode.
Van Ness currently stars as the grooming expert on the Netflix revival of Queer Eye. He stars alongside four other gay men as they attempt to revamp the lives of primarily straight men. The show premiered in early 2018 to praise from audiences and critics. The second season followed shortly after in the summer of 2018. Queer Eye earned three Primetime Emmy Awards in 2018, including Outstanding Structured Reality Program and Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program.
The third season of "Queer Eye" was released on Netflix in early 2019. Van Ness also released his inspiring and influential memoir, "Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love," where he opens up about living with H.I.V. and speaks about being an addict and a sexual abuse survivor.
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