The one and only Jonathan Van Ness makes history with cover of Cosmopolitan

The styling guru and all-round legend has become the magazine's 'first non-female cover star'.

The cover of Cosmopolitan magazine featuring a man with a beard and long hair smiling wearing a frilly dress

Fashion history has been made! And who else would you expect to do it but Jonathan Van Ness. Yes, the indomitable JVN has become the “first non-female cover star” of Cosmopolitan magazine in its 35 year history!

Looking buoyant in a frilled peach gown paired with trainers, the instantly recognisable JVN smile is in full force. As well as that epic cover, inside the magazine is an incredibly candid and moving interview with writer Amy Grier.

As well as sharing his views on style, politics and how he manages to juggle his workload (he’s a man of many talents – described in the feature as a “hairdresser, cheerleader, gymnast, Queer Eye star, podcaster, political advocate and comedian”), he also speaks of the pressure he faced when he shared his HIV status with the public and how he understands there is much more to be done.

“This is only the beginning. I’m quickly realising that there is still so much misunderstanding, so much sensationalising of living with HIV. The stigma and the difficulty around the process of getting treatment is creating that. My work has only really just begun.”

JVN shared that while people were overwhelmingly supportive upon hearing about the HIV diagnosis, it was politics that really shook up the hornets nest – unsurprising in a country so politically volatile. 

“I recently endorsed Elizabeth Warren for President, and then … Bernie Sanders supporters dug up this video from an interview the guys and I did for season one of Queer Eye where they asked us about different candidates. My whole thing with Bernie was: I love his policies and his advocacy, but if a woman presented herself the way he does, she would never become a mayor, a congressperson or a Senator.”

JVN continued, “Suddenly all these LGBT+ activists who don’t watch Queer Eye or listen to my podcast saw that clip and were like, ‘Ewww, he is a nightmare of a stereotype.’ Others were like, ‘It’s really disappointing to see someone who’s HIV+ trolling Bernie, who has been fighting for his access to healthcare since before he was born.’ 

“People within the LGBT+ community were retweeting it and so were loads of straight men. They were tagging me, saying the most horrific, vile things. It was the first time I ever cried from feedback on Twitter – like ugly-cry in a foetal position.” It’s an eye-opening account of the impact of social media in the modern age.

While Cosmopolitan should be applauded for thinking outside the box for the cover, it’s also refreshing to read an interview so candid.

The full Cosmopolitan interview  is available online and is well worth checking out.

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