Jonathan Van Ness is quite literally an open book.
In his new memoir Over the Top, the fan favorite Queer Eye star gets candid about his experience with sexual abuse, drug addiction and his HIV positive diagnosis, a moment that forever changed his life.
In his early 20s, while working on a client’s hair at his St. Louis salon, the stylist suddenly fainted. “I was trying to push through,” he recalled on Tuesday’s Today. “I had not been feeling amazing…and the next thing I knew, I was on my back on the ground and I was like, ‘Where am I? This doesn’t feel good.'”
The following day, he went to Planned Parenthood and it was then he learned he was HIV positive. “It was the moment you dread hearing,” he told host Hoda Kotb. “It is the thing I had feared, which I also talk about it in the book. It was something I had been very fearful of as a small child. I was born in 1987, so growing up in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis…We lost an entire generation of people.”
Today, his HIV is undetectable in his blood thanks to medication and regular doctor’s appointments. And, there is no denying he’s stronger than ever.
“I’ve done nothing but get cuter, be able to work harder and longer hours,” he said. “I feel like I’m thriving.”
Indeed, JVN is proud of how far he’s come—and for other’s to hear his story.
“It feels kind of Twilight Zone-ish but I do have this very calm sense of, I did this for a reason and I stand by those reasons,” the 32-year-old admitted. “I think it is really important for me to speak about the things I’ve talked about in this book.”
Once he book tour ends, he already has plans for his next move: Landing that standing back handspring full twisting layout. Added the star, “It’s really the goal right now.”