The Jonathan Van Ness Effect: Transforming Modern Journalism


October 23, 2023


Entertainment, Opinion


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(HOUSTON) — Jonathan Van Ness is in the spotlight following the release of his interview on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert’ podcast. The episode became the pop culture juggernaut du jour after Van Ness’ impassioned debate on trans rights and nationwide legislation targeting the queer community took over the show. It should come as no surprise the conversation has been top of mind for media outlets. Van Ness may not call themself a journalist, arguably many would not. Yet they continue to push the boundaries of modern storytelling, with a keen eye on discerning misinformation and a focus on lending their voice to some of the most controversial and important topics for vulnerable communities today.

Frequently referred to as ‘JVN’, the hairdresser turned gymnast and television personality, known for their podcast and captivating live performances, artfully combines personal insights with wisdom, sass, and a commitment to fact-based and extremely well-informed narratives. Their impressive list of achievements includes Emmy awards, the distinction of being a New York Times Best Selling Author, and a versatile research approach, positioning Jonathan Van Ness as an innovator of what constitutes contemporary journalism.

JVN adeptly achieves the seemingly improbable task of establishing relatable connections with audiences while upholding the tenets of objectivity, research, truth, and transparency. Their interviews exemplify vulnerability, enabling guests to genuinely share their experiences and expertise with the utmost authenticity and candor. They are unearthing relevant, evidence-based content and injecting it into audience veins with a uniquely JVN level of humanity. 

Getting, and Staying, Curious:
In 2015, Jonathan Van Ness launched their podcast, ‘Getting Curious,’ which recently marked its 300th episode milestone. The inaugural episode delved into the question, “What distinguishes Sunni and Shia Muslims, and what underlies their mutual differences?” This episode established the show’s tone, as JVN engages experts from various fields, including scientists, lawyers, authors, artists, and professors. The topics encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from vaccines to mental health, climate change, human rights, the Supreme Court, AI, and great apes. JVN’s curiosity propels them to seek out experts, creating a space where knowledge is generously shared.

The guests on ‘Getting Curious’ unquestionably excel in their respective domains. JVN’s inquisitive and disarming approach seamlessly melds academia with science, leaving the audience both informed and genuinely intrigued. Some contend that it embodies a form of journalism.

Undeniably, Unapologetically, Nonbinary Fabulous:
JVN’s journey originated in the beauty industry, a theme that reverberates throughout their present work. They provide commentary for E!’s red carpet events and play a pivotal role in Netflix’s widely acclaimed reboot of the Queer Eye series. As the hygiene/self-care guru of the ‘Fab 5,’ JVN captivates viewers with their fun, well-informed commentary and beauty guidance. Their ability to authentically connect with guests on their various show platforms instills trust among the audience, significantly contributing to the resounding success of their live tour. Remarkably, JVN’s utilization of entertainment platforms paradoxically enhances their credibility.

An Open Book:
Jonathan Van Ness’s literary contributions are equally remarkable. Their inaugural book, ‘Over The Top: My Story,’ attained the status of a New York Times bestseller, offering an intimate glimpse into their personal journey. Their latest novel ‘Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life,’ is a compilation of essays encouraging readers to expand their knowledge base and contemplate topics such as grief, HIV, imposter syndrome, body neutrality, and white privilege. This work reflects their years-long voyage of curiosity transformed into a living body of research and social experimentation.

Jonathan Van Ness’s dauntless and transparent approach to addressing contemporary issues equips their audience with a more comprehensive, well-informed perspective on the world. By spanning traditional and modern media genres, JVN exemplifies an evolved approach to journalism that the world is poised to embrace.

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