Unintended impact. Jonathan Van Ness has become pretty well known for his long locks. And as it turns out, the Queer Eye star’s strands have a pretty special significance.
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In fact, when he decided to cut his hair short at the age of 25, it made him realize that his mane meant a lot more to him than a good hair day.
“There’s so much internalized homophobia and transphobia in the gay community — especially in the gay male community — that I was like, ‘Oh, maybe someone will like me better,’ or, ‘I’ll be accepted more by these guys if I cut my hair off,” Van Ness told Bustle on Thursday, September 30. “I remember feeling so unlike myself the second it was short. I was like, ‘This is just not right.’ I [realized] no validation from other people will ever replace how much better I feel when my hair is long; [it] just feel like it’s who I am.”
The star, who shared that he identifies as non-binary in an interview with Out Magazine in 2019, went on to explain how his hairstyle has always been linked to how he feels about his identity.
“I was assigned male at birth. Living in my authenticity as a non-binary person, for me, a lot of that is in my hair,” Van Ness said. “I feel my most authentic self when there’s some wind whipping through my hair and I’m about to do a tumbling pass.”
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The reality star emphasized that while he knows “we are so much more than our hair,” there’s certainly a “connection” between how people feel and how people look. “When there’s a more symbiotic relationship with how I’m carrying myself through life the way I envision myself — that feels really good.”
Van Ness’ love and connection with his hair led him to pursue a career in the beauty space. He launched his namesake brand, JVN Hair, earlier this year. The line, which is complete with a total of 10 products, was designed so that everyone could have “happy” hair.
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The collection, which is sold at Sephora, includes a Nurture Collection, Embody Collection, Undamage Collection and Complete Collection, so that customers can choose the products that best target their hair care concerns.
“I really wanted to empower people to celebrate how they looked in whatever way that felt best to them,” he told Allure in August. “If that means that you just want to air dry and are barely going to brush through your hair, then that’s your truth. Whether you are spending 35 seconds or an hour and 35 minutes, I want everyone to feel beautiful and feel entitled to whatever their version of beauty is.”
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