Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye is the first non-female on Cosmopolitan UK’s cover in more than three decades. The cover is being praised for its bold display of non-binary beauty and fashion-forwardness.
Van Ness dons a sherbet-colored gown designed by Christian Siriano. He accessorizes his cover look with sports socks and vintage-inspired Nike trainers. Inside the publication, Van Ness models other vibrant looks including a floral dress with patent-leather combat boots. The last male celebrity to grace the cover solo was also a member of the LGBTQ community. Boy George held the distinction back in the 1984. Boy band One Direction appeared on the cover in 2012, but as a group.
In the magazine, Van Ness speaks about his gender non-conforming lifestyle. “I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide,” he said. “It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to.”
Much of Van Ness’ popularity started with Queer Eye. However, in September 2019, Van Ness revealed that he is HIV positive. He made the disclosure in his memoir Over the Top. Since then, the 32-year-old has hung out with Taylor Swift, received praise from fans and other celebs alike, and has leaned into self-care and recharging his batteries when his energy levels are low. His wild turns of phrase and bold personality excited fans and made him an instant hit on social media. In October 2019, Poo Pouri Toilet Spray made Van Ness its brand ambassador and gave the host a unique platform to speak to consumers about bowel health and maintenance. He’s also gotten very involved with politics and is reportedly putting his support behind candidate Elizabeth Warren. The grooming expert has also continued to endorse and recommend products that promote beautiful skin and hair.
It’s refreshing to see fashion magazines promoting inclusion on their pages and covers. For years, editors were told not to place people of color on covers because they don’t sell as well. However, Oprah, Rihanna, and Beyonce have laid to rest those outdated edicts. Now we have the first man to cover Cosmopolitan UK in 30 years looking fearless, fab, and joyous on the cover. Just like icon Billy Porter, Van Ness rocks a ball gown like a boss and shows that style comes in many shapes and forms. Somewhere in the world, there’s a kid feeling completely misunderstood and ashamed of his or her desire to be different. That kid will see this cover and realize it’s cool to walk to the beat of a different drum. That’s the power of living out loud – something Van Ness has elevated to a fine art.
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