Jonathan Van Ness Recalled The Scariest Thing They Attempted To Do On Their New Netflix Show, And Yeah, I Would Poop My Pants Too

    "Construction people are major."

    27 Things We Learned on Zoom with Jonathan Van Ness with a Jonathan smiling on the right

    Last week, JVN squeezed us into their busy schedule to chat about the Getting Curious podcast, Queer Eye, and their new Netflix show, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. Here's everything we learned:

    1. You first started the Getting Curious podcast six years ago. What was the inspiration for launching it?

    I've always been really curious. I've always wanted to understand the world around me more. So, it really was just this very natural extension of me wanting to learn, wanting to share that with people, and wanting to learn a new way of storytelling. I had just done Gay of Thrones; I think we just finished the second season when I started Getting Curious. And I was like, “I want to do this year-round. And I want to try something that's not hair all the time.”

    2. I absolutely loved the podcast episode with Reese Witherspoon when you talked about challenging the traditional roles women have held in media. Can you tell us something about Reese that fans might not know?

    I got to meet her back in 2018, when I did that interview. And I'm sure that everyone knows this, but I'm not much of a kiss-and-tell girl — not that I made out with Reese Witherspoon. But she's just a really genuinely nice person. I feel like that's not a big surprise, but I've messaged her lots of questions about this or that, and she's always been really sweet and really there for me. She's Reese Witherspoon, and she answered a question of mine, just because she's nice. And so she's really supportive. And I think that she also likes to uplift other people, which I think is really cool and rare.

    3. In 2019, you told Out magazine you’re nonbinary and gender-nonconforming, and you said you’re down for any opportunity to deconstruct binary stereotypes. Why was then the right time to share that?

    I just felt safe in that moment to share that with them — and so, I did.

    It was actually Fran, the journalist that interviewed me for that piece, who is just an incredible person. They were really one of the first people that I ever felt comfortable talking to about my gender expression in an official press way. It was something I had been thinking about a lot privately, and I had realized that I was nonbinary sometime before that. But it was just us in a room, and everyone else was kind of far away. And I just felt safe in that moment to share that with them — and so, I did.

    4. What was the response from your fans?

    People were really so sweet. And I think that a lot of people felt seen and felt like a lot of the things that we talked about in that article around my gender expression resonated with them, too. So, by and large, I felt really supported.

    5. On the Getting Curious TV show, you do everything from eating crickets to trying on gorgeous wigs. Out of all the stuff you did, what was the funniest moment?

    I feel like some of the funniest moments were just the in-between times. Like where, in the hair episode, I'm like, "Oh, is that a sarcophagus?" And our Egyptologist is just like, "No." There are a lot of really funny little moments that are really brief. I do think that one sketch in the episode about snacks with my best friend — I don't want to give away the spoiler, but there's some really fun cameos that are just hilarious.

    6. I could not believe when you let that spider crawl on your hand! So brave! Was there anything you wanted to try but were too afraid to?

    We found this team that wanted to have me do a course of washing the windows of a skyscraper, and I was like, "I will shit my pants on Netflix. That won't even be fun. I might as well just lift up my skirt and poop on camera now." So, we didn't do that. And even the scene when we go up into the active construction site skyscraper, I was so nervous. I didn't think I was gonna be that nervous because it was only like six floors up. But I was just like, "Ah! There's so much going on up here." It was just a lot. Yeah, construction people are major. It's hard.

    Jonathan at a construction site wearing a hard hat and a reflective vest

    7. What's your wildest fan experience?

    This one time, this one lady came up sprinting behind me pre-pandemic times in Kansas City. And I thought that she was an attacker. So I turned around with my cell phone like a mallet; I was ready to strike. But really, she was throwing her arms around to hug me, but I thought she was trying to kill me. So, there was one split second where I was ready to come for her. And she was like, "Ah!" I was like, "Argh!" And I was like, "Oh my God, you're a fan! I'm so sorry. You can't run up behind people like that, lady!" And she was like, "I'm sorry. I just freaked out when I saw you." I was like, "I'm sorry I tried to attack you. We’re friends, right? Do you wanna take a selfie?" And that was probably one of the weirder ones.

    8. Which celebrity would you love to have in your salon chair?

    Not because she needs anything done, but Oprah because I just want to hang out. But if she would let me style it with some JVN hair care, I could just be like, "How are you so cool?" Or we could even just sit in salon chairs across from each other and have a talk. I just want to meet you, Oprah!

    9. Were there any unexpected challenges when filming Getting Curious?

    One thing that was really difficult about Season 1 of Getting Curious is that it was filmed throughout the coronavirus pandemic. So, we shot for a few months toward the end of 2020, and then we took a break because there was that big spike after the holiday season last year. I'm really proud of us because we kept everyone safe. We didn't have anyone get COVID, and our whole crew was just so amazing. We all just really protected each other and were there for each other, but that was really challenging. And having everyone quarantine for 10 days before you do your scene. It's like, "Do you want to come quarantine for 10 days? For a 20-minute interview?” It's kind of hard to convince someone to want to do that.

    10. Out of the Fab 5, who makes you laugh the most?


    11. What's your guilty pleasure?

    I'm just watching so much really good fucking TV right now. And none of it's bad. I will say, though, what I binged last was Station Eleven. I know I'm in Netflix headquarters right now, so I hope the Netflix gods don't smite me. But it was really good.

    12. Which celebrity would you love to interview for your podcast?

    Oprah! And/or Michelle Obama or Beyoncé. The Trinity.

    13. The whole point of Getting Curious is learning and trying new things. What was the greatest lesson you took away from the show?

    Just the resilience, the bravery, the beauty of people and what they learned about, what they dedicated their lives to.

    One of the things that I took away from the show is not even about a specific fact or thing, but I think the thing that links all the episodes is that there were experts that had to really swim against the grain to get to where they got. They were willing to share those stories with us, which is so brave and so amazing. I think about Ayana Presley, I think about my Coach Eliot, who was in the figure skating episode, I think about everyone from the binary episode with Geo, Alok, Joshua, and Nala. Just the resilience, the bravery, the beauty of people and what they learned about, what they dedicated their lives to. I feel like that's what really has stuck with me and been so transformative.

    Jonathan walking down the street while having a conversation with someone

    14. Which celebrity have you been the most starstruck by?

    Michelle Kwan.

    15. Queer Eye has been on for six seasons, plus some international specials. You’ve been to so many cities and helped so many people around the world. In the most recent season, I was in tears during Jamie’s episode at the Safe in Austin Rescue Ranch with all those beautiful animals! Have you stayed in touch with any of the heroes? If so, who?

    Honestly, lots of them from lots of the seasons. I talk to Jamie a lot. I actually adopted a dog from her. My husband's in that episode; we adopted our little Elton. And then one of the stylists adopted one of Elton’s sisters, and then one of our producers adopted their other sister and then this other family adopted the two brothers. So I know where all of his siblings are. And this is Elton [pulls up an adorable pic of the fur baby on their phone]. We love him so much, and he's just cute as he could be.

    Angel from Season 6 is my trainer, so I literally see her five mornings a week now; she comes to my house. I love her so much. I talk to Jereka a lot; I actually was texting with her today. I talk to Mama Tammye from Season 2, I talk to Neal from Season 1, I talk to Skyler from Season 2. I talk to Jessica from Season 3. I talk to Deanna from Season 4. Kathy Dooley, I talk to a lot. I talk with Tyreek from Season 5. I text with Rahanna from Season 5. Yeah, so a lot.

    16. What's something on your bucket list?

    To land a single axle.

    17. Who was your childhood celebrity crush?

    This is really embarrassing. David Hasselhoff.

    18. I read that you’re good friends with Nicola Coughlan, who is fabulous in Derry Girls and Bridgerton. How did you two meet?

    We met on Instagram. I was obsessed with Derry Girls already. She made a hoodie of me and then tagged me in it after Queer Eye had been out for two weeks, and I was like, "Oh my God!" And then we've been friends ever since. It's actually been almost four years.

    19. Do you have a secret talent?

    I can play the violin.

    BuzzFeed: I had no idea! When did you start?

    I played from fourth grade 'til I graduated high school.

    20. If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

    Really, it’s just not to do hardcore drugs. You can smoke pot, but don't do uppers. Just don't do uppers!

    21. What's your favorite movie of all time?

    Moulin Rouge.

    22. In Getting Curious, you said that you've been obsessed with hair since you saw a Barbie at five years old. Is that also when you knew you wanted to become a hairdresser?

    I think so. I've always known that I loved hair. I always knew I wanted to be in a salon. It was either the Barbie, or there was a Miss America there when I was 3 or 4 where there was a lot of puffy, back-combed, late '80s/early '90s hair where I was like, "Ooh, this hair!"

    23. What's your favorite pizza topping?

    Fresh jalapeño.

    24. Is there a Queer Eye group chat? If so, what do y'all talk about?

    Yes. And I'm not allowed to say.

    25. What's a hobby you picked up or got back into during quarantine?

    Gardening and needlepointing.

    26. If you could only have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    Right now, it would be these bean and cheese tacos from Taco Deli and a never-ending supply of their Doña salsa.

    27. And finally, what's the one thing you can't live without?

    My husband.

    Thanks for chatting with us, Jonathan! Be sure to check out Getting Curious on Netflix!