November 30, 2020
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Johnathan Van Ness returns to the College community in virtual interview

By Julia Duggan and Celeste Krewson
Staff Writer and Correspondent

Students from the College were excited to send in questions and attend a virtual interview with Jonathan Van Ness on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Van Ness is known for his work on Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” and has also published several books. This interview marks the third event hosted by CUB as part of the organization’s “Fall 2020 On Your Campus Virtual Tour.”

Students from the College, Drexel University, Tennessee Tech, SUNY Onondaga, East Tennessee State University, Rutgers, University of Massachusetts Amherst and a few more colleges sent in questions ahead of time, and a moderator, Ayo Edebiri, read them out to the celebrity. Van Ness answered questions ranging from short, fun questions — such as which celebrity he would like to stylize — to serious, inspiring questions about self-love. As he answered each question, Van Ness maintained his upbeat, lighthearted personality that has drawn many fans to him.

Many of the questions were focused on LGBTQ+ topics, as students were hoping to seek advice from Van Ness on issues they struggle with. When asked what Van Ness would say to young adults who are afraid to come out, he discussed how in current times, young adults may feel more free to come out, but they also risk feeling more isolated. While it is now more culturally acceptable to be LGBTQ+, many young adults still risk living with families who do not accept LGBTQ+ identities. 

“We are really in a time that we are free as well as very isolated,” Van Ness said. “If you come from a family that does not accept LGBTQ, just be really secure with yourself and be conscious of who you want to talk to. Just find one person to confide in and then go from there.”

Van Ness encourages students of the College to be themselves in a virtual event (Twitter).

Van Ness encouraged these young adults to take the time they need to come out. He ensured them that they are still worthy of love from the people that care about them the most. He ended his answer with reassurance that they will find love, but should not feel pressured to do so.

The conversation moved to equal representation in the workforce, where Van Ness said, “I don’t know what time we are in.” 

“In some ways we are in really exciting times for people’s voices to be heard and for us to have equality in the workplace,” he said.

Van Ness elaborated that every gender and race has been impacted in the workforce in some way. After the pandemic, he believes, it will be very interesting to see how the workforce is impacted.

“I think that will determine the future of the workplace,” said Van Ness.

College students also had questions for Van Ness that were a little less serious. One question asked from a student at the College was, “Who is your favorite member to work with on Queer Eye and why?” 

“My favorite person to work with on ‘Queer Eye’ is the one who will pull over to get me snacks,” Van Ness said. “And that changes based on any one of their four moods and what we are all going through that day because I have had varied luck with everyone.”

As some of Van Ness’s fans are aware, he also owns cats. Throughout the interview, a cat meow could be heard in the background from time to time.

“I think Larry found some socks,” stated Van Ness which caused the moderator to chuckle. At the conclusion of the interview, Van Ness picked up his cat, Eliza, to show the fans online.

Van Ness is involved in both ice skating and gymnastics, and seeing the joy he gets out of them provided his fans with motivation, which they will take with them even when they aren’t watching “Queer Eye” or listening to his podcasts.

Van Ness’ engaging personality, along with encouragement for his fans, continues to inspire. Students such as Drexel University sophomore Megan Lynch, an environmental studies major, described invaluable lessons she has learned from the star.

“I will always take away from JVN that you are never too old to follow your dreams,” she said.

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