Sometimes we need help not only feeling better about ourselves but sharing our best selves with the world. From 2003-2007, Bravo’s show Queer Eye (originally titled Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) featured a fresh and funny take on makeovers. The messages and meaning of the show collectively helped us to be more tolerant and more fabulous.
On February 7, 2018, the reboot for the new century launched on Netflix. Today’s modern version showcases a new Fab 5 who deliver their own version of authenticity and acceptance from Atlanta, where the debut season was filmed.
Jonathan Van Ness: Queer Eye’s Grooming Expert and Yogi
Fab 5 Member Jonathan Van Ness shared some of his behind the scenes secrets to grooming, maintaining a daily savasana (final relaxation pose), and celebrating what is unique and beautiful about you. Jonathan is a long-time yoga practitioner (he’s also a teacher) who maintains an active group of clients in both LA and NYC. He’s passionate about helping people confidently own their gorgeousness. His easy laugh, enthusiastic spirit, and bright smile light up the room.
Queer Eye isn’t his first foray in front of the camera. He’s also the host of the popular (and Emmy-nominated) Funny or Die web series Gay of Thrones, which serializes hilarious recaps of the popular HBO series Game of Thrones.
Jonathan was among thousands from around the world who auditioned to be one of the Fab 5 when word got out about Netflix’s highly anticipated reboot.
How Yoga Support Jonathan’s Queer Eye Auditions
LA YOGA: How did you become involved in the new Queer Eye?
JVN: As a teenager growing up in a small town in the Midwest the original Queer Eye was important to me. When I heard about the new show, I wanted to be involved. It was a long audition process with a lot of people from around the world, all of whom were amazing.
Auditioning was a nerve-wracking; I called upon everything I had learned in yoga about how to be uncomfortable. And most importantly, I explored the answer to the age-old question of how to tell the difference between the dull ache of discomfort that you can just sit through and the sharp shooting pain that you just have to tap out of. Learning to sit in discomfort and keep breathing is always key.
Heart-Warming Compassion on Queer Eye
LA YOGA: What are you looking forward to most with the show’s release?
JVN: I believe it’s a really heart-warming show. We went out there and shared what we know about our joy and our passions as authentically as we could. All of us were so compassionate and open with everyone we worked with, even in situations where people may think or feel differently than we do. Those are the situations in the world today where we need to be more compassionate. Overall, the show is tons of fun and I think that comes through.
LA YOGA: What have you learned while filming Queer Eye that you’ve brought back to your everyday life?
JVN: One of the things that was reaffirmed to me is that in order to change the direction of where you are going in life, you have to really want to change. Willingness is key.
Yoga Practice on the Road While Filming Queer Eye
LA YOGA: While you were on the road filming and outside of your usual routine, how did you incorporate your yoga practice?
JVN: Since I was living in an apartment building with a gym, I did what I usually do, which is to practice a series of yoga poses after lifting weights. My usual daily yoga session involves a version of the warm-up part of an Ashtanga Primary Series. Three sets of Sun Salutation A, three sets of Sun B, some standing poses, twists, bridge, and of course, always savasana (final relaxation). Even when I’m busy, I practice.
LA YOGA: When did you first begin your yoga practice?
JVN: When I was 19, one of my oldest friends, Alisha, took me to a Bikram Yoga class. I had been a gymnast and cheerleader in school and throughout college, so from that first experience, I was obsessed and I didn’t miss a day of class for my first year. As a way to channel all of my physical energy, I practiced daily.
One of the things I had to learn through practice was to balance out my compulsive need to do yoga. I learned how to accept that even a 20 minute practice, when I don’t have time to do anything else, can make a significant impact.
Jonathan Van Ness on his Grooming and Self-Care Routine
LA YOGA: What are some of your go-to grooming and self-care routines?
JVN: I’m a morning person and I start out my day at the gym. Every day I like to break a sweat. The past couple of years, I’ve maintained a regular weight-lifting routine and then I warm down with a series of yoga poses before savasana. I’m one of those monkey-minded monks who needs to burn it out so I can be in silence. That daily savasana helps me manage my own energy since I’m with people throughout the day.
When it comes to other aspects of my self-care routine, some of my everyday items include Cover FX Sunscreen, Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion, Dr Dennis Gross Lift & Lighten Eye Cream, and Evan Healy Lavender Hydrosol. On Sundays, I up the self-love with a face mask, hair oil treatment, and a soak in the bathtub.
Advice on Self-Care from Queer Eye’s Grooming Expert
LA YOGA: What advice would you give to someone to up their own self-care and grooming regimens?
JVN: First, if you feel that grooming and self-care don’t necessarily come naturally to you, invite in your own curiosity. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and even ask questions of people you like and admire. Then do your research. When making choices about products, sometimes consumerism can get the best of us and we may think we need 15,000 products to do all of these different things. Just get comfortable with the basics, try out what you like and know you don’t have to do everything.
For More Information
For more information about Queer Eye, visit: netflix.com
Follow Jonathan Van Ness on Instagram @jvn
Joy Tomasko is a writer and artist based in Queens, NY: joytomasko.com