Jonathan Van Ness Biography

Jonathan Van Ness is a non-binary openly gay American hairdresser, podcaster, and television personality. He is best known for his role as the grooming expert on the Netflix series Queer Eye. Jonathan gained popularity through his web series, Gay of Thrones, and now hosts the Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness podcast. He is also a writer, with his memoir Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love. Jonathan is a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community and uses his platform to fight for their rights. As a talented hairdresser, he has worked for Sally Hershberger and now runs his own studio in Los Angeles.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Jonathan McDonald Van Ness
  • Age: 36 Years, 36 Year Old Males
  • Family: mother: Mary Winters
  • Born Country: United States
  • Gays
  • Actors
  • Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), 6’0″ Males
  • Notable Alumni: University Of Arizona
  • Diseases & Disabilities: HIV
  • U.S. State: Illinois
  • More Facts
  • Education: University Of Arizona

Childhood & Early Life

Jonathan Van Ness was born on March 28, 1987, in Quincy, Illinois, United States. His mother, Mary Winters, is the vice president of Quincy Media, a broadcast and newspaper conglomerate. His father, Jon Van Ness, worked in sales. Jonathan is the youngest of four siblings from his mother’s two marriages. His parents divorced when he was five years old, and his mother later married her childhood sweetheart. Despite constant support from his mother, Jonathan faced bullying and death threats while growing up. He embraced his femininity and often dressed up as a “little baby queen” in private.

Early Career

Jonathan attended Quincy Senior High School, where he participated in swimming classes, violin lessons, gymnastics, and ballet. He became the first male cheerleader in the school, subverting social norms. However, he faced humiliation and self-destructive behaviors after being sexually abused and experiencing a link-up with a closeted boy. Eager to leave his hometown, Jonathan earned extra credits in his junior year to skip senior year and go straight to college. He attended the University of Arizona on a partial scholarship for cheerleading but neglected his studies and wasted his allowance on cocaine. He dropped out of college and decided to train as a hairdresser at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis.

Entertainment Career

Jonathan’s parents refused to pay his fees for hairdressing school, so he took a FAFSA loan and worked at Sun Places Tanning Solutions to support himself. In 2013, he co-founded the hair studio MoJoHair with Monique Northrop. That same year, he gained recognition for his web series “Gay of Thrones,” a parody recap series of the HBO show Game of Thrones. The success of the series led to new opportunities, including working with Margaret Cho and hosting the podcast “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness.” He auditioned for Netflix’s revival of “Queer Eye” and became the grooming expert, one of the Fab Five. The show has been running successfully for five seasons.


Jonathan published his memoir, “Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love,” in 2019, which depicted how his life experiences shaped him. He also released a picture book titled “Peanut goes for the Gold” in 2020, featuring a gender nonbinary guinea pig.

Family & Personal Life

Jonathan lost his step-father to cancer in 2012, which made him more conscious about healthcare issues. He suffers from the chronic skin condition psoriasis. In September 2019, he endorsed Elizabeth Warren as a presidential candidate.


While filming the first season of “Gay of Thrones,” Jonathan was hired to groom the cast of “Game of Thrones” for Comic-Con. Some of the show’s creators recognized him from his recaps.

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