The much loved 32-year-old ‘Queer Eye’ breakout actor, Jonathan Van Ness, has just recently his memoir, ‘Over the Top,’ in which he is brutally honest about being an addict, binge eating, suffering sexual abuse, and living with H.I.V..
Van Ness’ lack of self-esteem ran deep. As therapy would later reveal, the abuse he experienced as a young child planted the seed for other self-destructive behaviorsץ
Apart from revealing to the world that he standing strong in the face of being HIV positive, Van Ness also touches on his drug addiction and the trauma he faced as a child when he suffered sexual abuse, vulnerable times which still give him anxiety. Speaking to the New York Times, about the explosive revelations in his book, he remarked: “I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people”
The Cocaine Trap
When he was a teenager, Van Ness’s stepfather passed away, which led him to binge eat. Later, he left the small port city of Quincy, which is situated along the Mississippi, and headed off to Tuscon, Arizona, where he started college a year earlier than normal. But being away from home and entering a world of academia, must have taken their toll, and he began to wipe out his monthly allowance of $200, by blowing it on cocaine.
Sex, Drugs & Hairstyles
This addiction took its toll, and Van Ness returned back home at age 19, due to flunking out of college. He then signed up for a beautician course at the renowned Aveda Institute in Minneapolis. Later down the line, he moved back to Arizona, but this time to Scottsdale, where he looked after his grandma who was sadly, dying. After that period, he was offered the position of hairdressing assistant, at the prestigious LA Sally Hershberger salon. But his addiction to drugs and sex reached a crescendo, and after he linked up with a couple on Grindr, he began using meth.
Slaying the Dragon
These addictions sent Van Ness into rehab on two occasions, and unfortunately, in both cases, he relapsed. But there was more difficulty on the horizon: “When he turned 25, Van Ness fainted in a salon while highlighting a client’s hair. He tested positive for HIV soon after he went to Planned Parenthood for his flu-like symptoms”.
Triumph Over Adversity
Van Ness is now a beacon of hope to countless people across the world: since his HIV diagnosis, and battles with addiction, he has: “sobered up and become a household name, only drinking and smoking on occasion”.