Jonathan Van Ness is good at many things. Number one: Getting glam. Second, as a trained yoga teacher, the Queer Eye star has mesmerizing flows for days. And then there’s that JVN charm. Whether he’s talking to Ariana Grande or Katie Couric, Van Ness can make almost anyone melt.
But to me, the most lovable thing about him is something he doesn’t get a lot of attention for: his refusal to listen to standard “stay in your lane” advice, meant to keep you focused on things you’re already good at.
Take his Getting Curious podcast. He goes way beyond his comfort zone to delve into political, economic, and cultural topics—everything from US-Saudi Arabia relations to suicide rates among LGBTQ youth—with the help of well-credentialed experts he interviews.
To me, the most lovable thing about him is something he doesn’t get a lot of attention for: his refusal to listen to standard “stay in your lane” advice.
The best part: He asks a lot of questions along the way that betray the fact that (gasp) he often has a lot to learn about these heavyweight subjects. He’s totally unafraid of sounding dumb, which of course is the best way to get smart. After all, it’s tough to learn new things when you’re spending all your time trying to keep up the facade that you’ve got it all figured out.
And if you want to have a long, happy life, staying in “learning mode” is one of the best ways to do that, studies show—which makes Van Ness’ latest shame-free, follow-your-heart move all the more enviable.
If you follow him on social media, you know what it is: ice skating. Yes, the 31-year-old TV star (and unabashed skating superfan—listen to his analysis of the 2018 Games last year) announced in a November 20 post that he’s “going for gold” for Beijing 2022 and posted this wobbly-legged video to document the start of his training.
As he explained the next day, “Prepare yourself for a lot of figure skating content. I’m sorry I’m not sorry about self care and sharing it w you.”
There’s no reason to be sorry! It’s the best thing on the internet right now.
Van Ness’ ice skating videos take typical Instagram fodder and give them a dash of keep-it-real slow TV (as in, the wildly popular programming in Norway which shows the scenery during a seven-hour train trip, for example). Both require you to pay close attention, to lean forward and take in all the tiny details on screen—which allows you to appreciate the glacial changes that are happening. Over time, it’s oddly satisfying to watch.
Add in JVN’s patented non-lane-staying approach to life, and it’s a downright inspiring mix. It’s also a reminder that the path to real change can seem uneventful—and almost impossible—while it’s happening, until all of a sudden you’re airborne, and sticking a landing on the ice.
In a social media culture that’s often more about “performative wellness” rather than actual health—which skips over struggles to give you the neat, before-and-after story—Van Ness’ vulnerability in showing his learning process is like a shot of keep-it-real oxygen to energize your day.
And you know what? He’s getting pretty damn good. Check out the spins he was doing this week. Beijing 2022—we’ll be watching, Jonathan.
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Learning more and more everyday Queens & let me tell you something I’ve learned the hard way time and time again. Giving myself fully to people who don’t deserve it continues to bear very bitter fruit. Focusing on giving myself attention, nurturing, and so much compassion will always bear gorgeous fruit. Why henny? Because the relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you will ever have, it’s the only one you will have consistently. Don’t forget that 🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🎥 @eliothalverson #jvnskates
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