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Queer Eye Star Reveals His Private Pain

Jonathan Van Ness talks about his upcoming memoir, 'Over the Top'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2019 12:52 PM CDT
Jonathan Van Ness, a cast member from "Queer Eye," arrives at night one of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
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(Newser) Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness is baring his soul a few days before the release of his new memoir, People reports. The fabulous 32-year-old opened up about his history of sexual assault, drug addiction, HIV—and now, nightmares. "I've had nightmares every night for the past three months because I'm scared to be this vulnerable with people," he tells the New York Times. "There are issues that need to be talked about." Van Ness reveals in the memoir, Over the Top, that he tested positive for HIV at age 25 after collapsing while doing a client's hair. "That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be," he says in the book. And he already suffered from low self-esteem after an older boy abused him during a supposed play session.

"For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma," he explains. Feeling "too fat, too femme, too loud and too unlovable," he plunged into a self-destructive lifestyle that included meeting older men online in his teens and smoking methamphetamine in his 20s. But he managed to co-create a campy Gay of Thrones for Funny or Die and, in 2016, successfully auditioned for Queer Eye. Now he's in his fourth season, done with hard drugs, and ready to meet the world. "These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup," he says. "That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed." (Read more memoir stories.)

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