Theater & Dance

Six Questions with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness Ahead of His Irving Show

Yes, hunny! JVN talks beauty, fame, and the Road to Beijing.

Editor’s Note: There are plenty of cool happenings this weekend. Here, we home in on one. Check the Things To Do page for the full lineup. 

Who, exactly, is Jonathan Van Ness? A fashion icon, hair guru, non-binary figure skating prodigy, author, podcaster, comic, Cosmopolitan’s first non-female cover star, and absolute kween, for starters. You know him as the beauty expert-turned-life-coach on Netflix’s Queer Eye, but his interests are far beyond skin-deep. Van Ness has used his pop culture prowess to speak out about politics, HIV, gender fluidity, self-love, and more–all the while being his hilarious, outrageous self. 

Friday, he’s coming to Irving’s Toyota Music Factory for his live show, Road to Beijing, a mix of stand-up comedy, gymnastics, Olympic history, and Van Ness-isms. 

JVN gave us a ring to fill us in on all the juicy details. Can you believe

What can people expect at Road to Beijing? 

[My comedy] has changed so much over the past year-and-a-half since I’ve really been doing stand-up, so you can definitely expect a night with me, a night of me… It gives you more background into how I am the way I am, and how I do things, and some of my experiences, with a side of gymnastics and figure skating history, with a side of some politics. You’re going to see some live gymnastics with me, and also some recapping, and some fierce costume changes!

Queer Eye was really a breakout moment for you. It’s such a transformative show for other people, but how has it changed your life?

That’s one thing I talk about in the show–how I try to not lose myself and staying true, and handling the pace, and the energy. 

I’m still me, but the stakes are a little bit higher. I have, like, double the cats now, and Michelle Kwan is someone who I can call a close friend, which is incredible and a daily shocking experience for me. 

It’s made everything a lot more wondrous, with a lot more pressure.

Ok, I’m going to back up because I’m excited about your costume changes. What’s been inspiring your personal style lately? 

Good question! I always like to play with pushing myself and trying new things. Doing things that feel good and trying things that make different aspects of myself feel seen, like, by myself. Being able to experiment and explore things that I’ve never been able to–if you’re in a salon doing hair color all day, which is what I was doing, I didn’t want to mess up cute, expensive clothes. Now, I have a reason and the financial means to get cool clothes and wear them on stage–stuff I’d never been able to do. My style on stage is kind of different, too, because it’s more bold and louder. When I’m running around running errands or doing stuff with my cats or cutting or coloring hair, I don’t wear my cutest, boldest crop top with sequins all over it. 

But, I always think a crop top and a flowy skirt and sequins always makes me feel excited. 

As far as skincare and grooming, is there actually a difference between men and women’s products? Do people need to use gender-specific beauty items? 

It really depends on what your skin type is like. There is, on some level, hormonal differences between men and women, so that can affect changes in the skin, however, there’s also so many men who experience higher estrogen or higher testosterone, and the same thing with women, and there are so many people who fall in between. With the side effects that estrogen or testosterone bring to the skin–whether that’s dryness, pimples, excess oil, whatever–that can happen for so many reasons. 

So, I think gendered make-up or gendered skincare is a little bit of a baby sham, because really, it’s about your skin type and what’s going on with your skin, and that goes beyond gender. 

For someone who hasn’t gotten into skincare yet–not that you asked this, but I’ll answer–sunscreen, eye cream, moisturizer are a really good place to start. And also oil. 

You cover such a broad range of topics between your podcast and other platforms. How would you recommend that people stay up-to-date on current events? 

Try to read different news sources everyday. A lot of the time I spend a day is reading different things from a lot of different sources. I love BBC, I love Reuters, I also read CNN, but I also read Fox News. I try to hear what everybody is saying. I also read a lot of National Geographic, a lot of science blogs, things that go into the research for my podcast. So it’s really trying to spend some time clicking links and seeing where your mind takes you, because there’s so much information at your fingertips. I don’t not read it because it stresses me out. 

What do you want people to take away from the live show? 

A night of joy. With everything going on, with the darkness that we’re facing as a community, as a country, or personally, I really want everyone to get away and learn to laugh at it. You might have some gains on knowledge, some gains on political knowledge and history, you’re definitely going to have some gains on Olympic stuff, but really, it’s a night of fun. 

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