A Guru of Groom­ing—and Pro­duc­tiv­ity, Too

JONATHAN VAN NESS HAIR­DRESSER, POD­CAST HOST, AND STAR OF NET­FLIX’S QUEER EYE

Fast Company - - Contents - —As told to El­iz­a­beth Se­gran

“I START MY DAY BY MED­I­TAT­ING. IT’S LIT­ER­ALLY JUST THREE MIN­UTES.”

When I re­fer to what is go­ing on in my life, I lit­er­ally hold up air quotes when I say the word fame. I didn’t think I would find my­self in this po­si­tion. I’m kind of hang­ing on by the seat of my pants. Be­ing flex­i­ble has been key to get­ting here. I try not to be too rigid about my phi­los­o­phy of life.

I start my day by med­i­tat­ing. It’s lit­er­ally just three min­utes. The goal is to do it for an amount of time that is at­tain­able. Some­times, my mind wan­ders. That’s a part of med­i­ta­tion where you just have to be gen­tle and pa­tient with your­self. It is a prac­tice.

When I’m burn­ing the can­dle at both ends, my in­ter­nal critic comes out a bit. Re­cently, I was re­ally fight­ing to stop my­self from look­ing at neg­a­tive com­ments on In­sta­gram—you know, re­ally In­sta-stalk­ing peo­ple.

I said to my­self, “Oh my God, girl. What are you go­ing through?” So for the past two weeks in my morn­ing med­i­ta­tions, I have been try­ing to think of the word grat­i­tude as I in­hale. And as I ex­hale, I think about stress leav­ing my body.

My ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant, Julie, helps me so much. On In­sta­gram, I do Be­y­oncé re­make dances, and we will just study Be­y­oncé videos for the long­est time un­til we fig­ure out the chore­og­ra­phy. It’ll take us four hours to get 16 counts. We’ve got more of a friend­ship than a pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship.

Eat­ing is ac­tu­ally an area where I re­ally need to Queer Eye my life. I am a cof­fee ad­dict—i don’t mean that lightly—and I think it sup­presses my ap­petite dur­ing the day. I find I have to re­mind my­self to drink wa­ter and eat food. At 3 or 4, I have a late, big lunch and then a late, big din­ner. Then it’s 9 o’clock and it’s me telling my­self that I will not, un­der any terms, get Pop-tarts tonight. I’m not do­ing it. Time he gets up 7 a.m.

What he does while com­mut­ing

“I look at my In­sta­gram Ex­plore feed, which is ba­si­cally all old fig­ure-skat­ing and gym­nas­tics videos or DIY hair videos.”

Email strat­egy

“I am still in an evo­lu­tion around email. Learn­ing how to re­spond to emails with cor­po­rate peo­ple is dif­fer­ent for me.”

Last thing he does at night

“I square away what I need for the next morn­ing, if I have an early call time or have to pack to leave town. Then it’s just me and The Great Bri­tish Bak­ing Show, or Killing Eve, or what­ever other TV show I’m ob­sessed with.”

Time he goes to bed 10:30 or 11 p.m.

On the Cover Pho­to­graph by Ra­mona Ros­ales PHO­TO­GRAPH BY BAR­RETT EMKE

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness

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