The Complete Queer Eye Book Collection

I’ve done lots of reading this year, which led me into a deep dive into the works of my five favorite guys. You can catch them on Netflix’s Queer Eye: Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Bobby Berk.

My breakdown for the first three books can be found by clicking the links below:

img_79241. Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness

IMG-66542. Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope by Karamo Brown

img_79733. Naturally Tan by Tan France

img_86264. Antoni has a cookbook rather than a novel, called Antoni In The Kitchen.

There’s an intro in the beginning where we get to learn more about Antoni and where he drew his inspirations for food. He grew up in Montreal with two Polish parents, and experienced a variety of culture growing up. He also mentions Queer Eye of course, which includes a forward from original “food and wine” expert, Ted Allen. I also love that Antoni mentions his sexuality, because he felt insecure about being on a show starring gay men when he is really more on the spectrum of sexuality.

img_8628Though Antoni comes from Polish decent, the book is not overloaded with Polish recipes. It’s actually a lovely cultural mix of Polish, Italian, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Aussie, American, and so much more. Every recipe is included with a paragraph of Antoni explaining the dish and why he loves it, as well as some anecdotes, tips, and detailed instructions. I also appreciate that every recipe comes with a picture, because I don’t understand recipe books that don’t show you what you’re supposed to be making. This is loaded of pictures of both food and Antoni for you to drool over. Once I make some of these dishes for myself, I’ll be sure to review.

img_8068

5. Queer Eye: Love Yourself. Love Your Life  

Bobby is way too busy renovating the houses of America to have the downtime to write a book about himself – I mean seriously, do they let him sleep?? He is, however, credited in the book that brings the Fab Five all together: Queer Eye: Love Yourself. Love Your Life. This book is a whole breakdown of everything Queer Eye (the new Fab Five). The producers of the show talk about their ideas for both the original and the reboot; The word “queer” used to have a negative connotation, and I think we can credit these shows in part for the taking back of that word completely. It’s now an empowering word that I love using to describe myself. Thanks, queens!

img_8651

I enjoyed reading about Bobby’s unique upbringing, since he was the one I knew the least about. A lot of the info on the other men I already knew from reading their individual books, so it was nice for me to see Bobby’s backgrounds included. I’ll also say that I’m just not sure about this mustache phase that Antoni was going through here – very Johnny Depp meets James Franco; it’s a whole look.

It’s a great coffee table book, but it’s also completely packed full of content. There’s so much to page through: bios of the guys, deep dives into each of their specialties, and a whole Queer Eye recipe section with dinner menu recommendations. If these guys have already found their way to your heart, this book will make you happy.

 

All books are available on Amazon or other places where books are sold!

Thanks for reading.

Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness

img_7924

There has been A LOT of buzz around JVN’s new book! Of course I’ve been a huge fan of Jonathan Van Ness for a very long time, but I love how much media attention he’s been getting in the past year. Jonathan originally was known for his recap show Gay of Thrones, and then earned mainstream attention after becoming a member of Netflix’s Queer Eye‘s Fab Five. The book has made headlines this year because of the secrets that JVN opens up about in the book, and his bravery is insanely admirable.

In one of the episodes of Queer Eye, the Fab Five talk about coming out img_7955of the closet. Jonathan says something along the lines of, “Hello! The sky is blue. The grass is green.” meaning that there really was no “in the closet” for him. He was clearly and obviously flamboyant from a young age, and that left for a good amount of teasing while growing up. The story of his friend from the swim team is one that I’m sure many queer people can relate to: a friend where the lines get blurry and complicated… and then in the end.. awkward. It’s sad that there was so much shame in being gay in these small towns, because it can do a lot of damage.

img_7954

I really enjoyed reading about his reflections on past relationships. Speaking in the abstract makes everything so poetic and tragically beautiful. I could feel that when JVN talked about Sergei. They clearly cared so much about each other as humans, even if their demons constantly came between them. Their story hurt my heart, but the love was clear and present the whole journey. Who gave them permission to be so hauntingly gorgeous?!

img_7958

It was super exciting to see Jonathan go to Tucson for college! However, his experiences at the U of A were not entirely positive. He was clearly in a dark place at this point in his life, and he was searching for answers in some of the worst places. I appreciate his willingness to be open about his escort experience, which left him vulnerable and broken. I’m sure it was not easy for him to be honest about his behavior during this time, but I appreciated that he shared this in his writing. There are a lot of experiences within the male gay community that is swept under the rug, and JVN was able to bring some to light. During this time of darkness, he was luckily able to reach out to his family for the help he needed, and headed home to “start over”.

JVN 5

Recovery, self-love, and mental health are things that JVN is always promoting, and it’s clearly as a result of his life experiences. His words on recovery are inspiring, and he is always reminding everyone to love themselves for where they are at. He says, “One thing I have come to notice in my life is that recovery for me has not been linear. It’s more two steps forward, three back, five forward, two back, so I’m always improving but there are setbacks within the improvement.”

I love Jonathan and every single itty bitty baby gorgeous thing he ever does, and I of course loved this book. But truthfully, I think he could have REALLY JVN 4dove into his dark places and gone even deeper. It definitely would take being EXTREMELY vulnerable to do this, as Jonathan as already revealed so so much in this book. Home girl has been through some shit! I just feel like there was so many stories and deep details that we didn’t get to hear, as he barely skimmed the surface of what he’s been through. He explains the the summary of the dark places, but I was so interested in his life of tricks and compulsivity, and so I definitely wanted a little more. Still, I totally know how hard that would be for JVN, who is very much connected to people worldwide with Queer Eye and his social media presence. I still absolutely applaud him for how much he did open up and reveal in the pages.

I love the way Jonathan combats the stigmas around HIV. This is such a significant conversation! Learning about being “undetectable” is so JVN 6incredibly important to educate people on the virus, and even I learned a lot from his writing. I’m so glad that JVN was recognized for this conversation in the media!! This really can help so many people to not only get the help they need, but also feel comfortable to live a full life while managing their diagnosis. It’s so wonderful that modern medicine can allow those who are diagnosed with HIV and AIDS to live a long lives. In the book, Jonathan mentions how his doctor said he would “go on to die of a heart attack or cancer just like everybody else.” – which is of course a morbid joke, but just shows where HIV is JVN 1in terms of a terminal diagnosis. 

 

 

Below are a list of resources provided by JVN in the book. Also, if you are a member of any community that may be high risk for HIV, please ask your doctor about PrEP, or visit the CDC website or What Is PrRP? or for more information.

Planned Parenthood
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
Phoenix House
The Trevor Project
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
Advocates for Youth
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network)
Peer Health Exchange
ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

JVN 3

He is fierce. He is real. He is raw. He gets into it, hunny! Jonathan gets sups vuln and you need to hear all the spilled tea. Grab your little baby copy wherever the finest of books are sold and come along for the gorgeous ride! Queer Eye is of course always available on Netflix – the Japan episodes were released not too long ago, and I know they were filming in Philly this summer!! JVN 2For all things JVN, you can visit jonathanvanness.com or follow him on social media @JVN.

“In general, if you can’t take me at my raw, heated moment, you don’t deserve me at my composed Emmys glam moment.” – Jonathan Van Ness, re-quoting Marilyn Monroe ♡

Thanks for reading!

5 Reasons why JVN is #Goals

Jonathan Van Ness is one of the most amazing people on this planet. That’s not an opinion, it is a fact, honey.

JVN came to full celebrity status as a part of the “Fab Five” on Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye, where he is the groomer, hairstylist, and self-care advocate. His colorful commentary along with his wit and charm have quickly won over all the hearts of America, including mine. He also hosts a Game of Thrones recap web series titled Gay of Thrones, which was nominated for an Emmy, and hosts a podcast called Getting Curious.

He is amazing. He is incredible. He is fabulous. He is gorgeous. He is everything.

Here are the top 5 reasons why we should all follow, love, adore, cherish, admire, and aspire to be JVN:

jvn 51. His Style
I absolutely am obsessed with the boundaries that JVN pushes whenever he steps out to turn a look. His looks are often androgynous, pushing what could be considered “gender norms” by wearing skirts, dresses, and heels. When he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel wearing a sleek black romper and colorful, sparkly heels – I was living for it, honey! He is such a style icon and should be watched for head-turning looks in the future.

 

jvn 42. His Activism
JVN is an outspoken liberal who is extremely involved in activism and making the world a better place. He brings awareness to political issues and supports social issues such as trans rights, women’s rights, gun reform, and more. He was also the first male cheerleader at his high school and went on to cheer at the University of Arizona. JVN breaks ground, stands up for what he believes in, and makes change happen. Regardless of what you believe in, Jonathan is an amazing example of standing up for what you are passionate about.

 

jvn 23. His Podcast
I’ve written about Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness in my podcast favorite posts, but it’s one of the reasons I truly love him. First of all, because I can never get enough of the way he talks, honey. I could just listen to him say “cute” and “gorgeous” on repeat or as my alarm in the morning. JVN also has some really important guests that cover significant topics that dive deep into a variety of issues. From artificial intelligence, to peace in the Middle East, to climate change, to women in comedy, and everything in between! It’s extremely admirable that he takes the time to ensure we hear so many important messages from credible sources.

 

jvn 34. His Ice Skating
We should all learn a valuable lesson from JVN – it’s never too late to learn a new skill. Jonathan has always been obsessed with figure skating, or more specifically, Michelle Kwan, and decided in his adult life to take on the task of learning the art. He posts videos of this progress, showing both his falls and the landings. This is such an amazing message to teach anyone who is watching him. There is a struggle to learning something new; it takes time, patience and determination. JVN is working hard and I can’t wait til we see him land that gorgeous triple axle, honey. #JVNSkates

 

jvn 15. His Hair
Jonathan’s hair – including facial – is truly killer. He can rock a blow out like he is Beyoncé with his long luscious locks blowing beautifully across his shoulders. He is also no stranger to a gorgeous messy bun or top knot, paired with the right accessories of course. JVN’s mustache game is truly incredible as well and always on point. Gentlemen – take a note! Regardless of the length of your hair/beard/etc., know how to manage and take care of it.

 

For all things JVN, visit https://jonathanvanness.com/ or follow him on social media @jvn.

Thanks for reading!