Written By: Jonathan Van Ness
Narrated By: Jonathan Van Ness
Date: September 2019
Duration: 5 hours 51 minutes
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Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love Summary
A laugh-and-cry-out-loud memoir from the beloved star of Netflix’s Queer Eye, Jonathan Van Ness, sharing never before told, deeply personal stories of growing up gay, transforming pain into positivity, and embracing what makes you gorgeously different.
Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey.
The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.
Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so . . . over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma—yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.
Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen. JVN fans may think they know the man behind the stiletto heels, the crop tops, and the iconic sayings, but there’s much more to him than meets the Queer Eye.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away knowing that no matter how broken or lost you may be, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you’re strong, and you’ve got this.
Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love Audiobook by Jonathan Van Ness Reviews
“There is plenty to laugh at in the ways “Queer Eye”’s grooming expert frames his story, but it’s the battles he’s waged against the darker corners of his soul to become the bright light we know today that provide the necessary context for this book to shine.” (The New York Times)
In 2020, Van Ness released a picture book titled Peanut goes for the Gold. It tells the story of a nonbinary guinea pig named Peanut and their adventures as a rhythmic gymnastics prodigy. Peanut is inspired by Jonathan’s own childhood pet. In an interview for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Van Ness discussed how Peanut didn’t have any other rhythmic gymnasts to look up to so they created a space for themselves as a rhythmic gymnast. He also announced Peanut goes for the Gold would be partnering with No Kid Hungry’s fund #savewithstories, where Van Ness did a virtual reading of Peanut goes for the Gold to support the children affected by the coronavirus pandemic to ensure they have access to meals that would have been provided to them at school. In a LiveSigning interview, Van Ness explained why he wanted to write Peanut goes for the Gold, saying “I really wanted to do something that would celebrate all those kids that are individual and themselves”, and emphasized the importance of uniqueness and pursuing one’s passions.
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Van Ness currently works in Los Angeles and New York City. He has psoriasis, a chronic skin condition, and advises clients on skin care.
In a 2019 interview with The New York Times, he revealed a history of drug addiction issues, childhood sexual abuse, and his HIV-positive diagnosis at age 25.
On September 25, 2019, Van Ness announced his endorsement of Elizabeth Warren for president in 2020 based upon healthcare being a human right.
His memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, was published in October 2019. His memoir discusses his past and how it helped sculpt his future.
On June 23, 2020, Van Ness and Queer Eye costar Bobby Berk praised recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions which ruled that LGBT employment discrimination was a violation of the Civil Right Act of 1964. Van Ness described the ruling as “a great step in the right direction.” However, both of them still urged the United States Congress to pass the proposed Equality Act.