The “Queer Eye” grooming expert, 32, is being celebrated as the first solo non-female Cosmopolitan UK magazine cover star in more than 30 years.
On the January 2020 cover, Van Ness wears a voluminous pink and orange tulle off-the-shoulder Christian Siriano gown with striped socks and classic Nike Cortez sneakers. The coverline reads, “Jonathan Van Ness: Yep, we did it. You’re totally welcome.”
Van Ness, who identifies as non-binary and uses male pronouns, debuted the cover image Monday, writing, “First non female cover star in 35 years [LGBTQ flag and heart emojis] thanks for having me [LGBTQ flag and heart emojis]. @CosmopolitanUK showing more variations of beauty for young LGBTQ+ people YAS QUEEN photo by @Rachel_Smith.”
While Cosmopolitan previously had the members of the British boy band One Direction on the cover in 2012, Van Ness is the first solo non-female identifying celebrity to front the magazine since Boy George in 1984.
Cosmopolitan UK editor-in-chief Claire Hodgson said the choice to feature Van Ness is a way to represent the magazine’s diverse readership. “Jonathan is warm, funny, opinionated, kind and brave, all qualities that resonate with our audience,” Hodgson says. “He is encouraging people to love who they are, which is at the heart of what our brand stands for — we could all do with a little more self-love in our lives.”
This major milestone comes just a few months after the reality star’s memoir, Over the Top, hit shelves on September 24th. In his book, Van Ness reveals that he is HIV positive, something he opened up about to Cosmopolitan UK more. “This is only the beginning. I’m quickly realizing that there is still so much misunderstanding, so much sensationalizing of living with HIV,” he told the magazine. “The stigma and the difficulty around the process of getting treatment is creating that. My work has only really just begun.”
Earlier this year, the Queer Eye beauty guru also opened up about his gender identity, saying he doesn’t consider himself a cisgender man despite using male pronouns.
“The older I get, the more I think that I’m non-binary,” Van Ness said, “I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman.”
“I think a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide,” he said. “It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to.”
Sources: CNN 12/3/19; TIME 12/2/19; People 12/2/19