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'Queer Eye' fame keeps Jonathan Van Ness in 'constant state of shock'

By
Karen Butler
Jonathan Van Ness attends the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on September 9, 2018. File Photo by Gregg DeGuire/UPI
Jonathan Van Ness attends the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on September 9, 2018. File Photo by Gregg DeGuire/UPI | License Photo

June 5 (UPI) -- Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness says he is frequently surprised by his newfound fame and the opportunities it presents -- texting with Michelle Kwan, seeing Meryl Streep in person.

In addition to taping fresh episodes of the Netflix docu-series and his podcast, Getting Curious, Van Ness also headlines his own stand-up comedy tour, Road to Beijing, and this month wrapped his popular Funny or Die web series Gay of Thrones, which comically dissected the scintillating details of HBO's swords and dragons drama Game of Thrones.

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He sprained his ankle last week, but didn't let that keep him off the red carpet for the Season 2 premiere of HBO's Big Little Lies where he caught a glimpse of Streep.

"I was literally texting with Michelle Kwan. I am literally in a constant state of shock," the 32-year-old stylist told UPI last Thursday about how his life has changed in recent years. "I also laid my eyes on Meryl Streep, literally, last night with my own, literal, eyes."

Queer Eye is a feel-good makeover show co-starring a team of gay professionals -- Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown and Bobby Berk -- who help people reinvent themselves and live their best lives.

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Three seasons of it are streaming now on Netflix and millions of fans follow its stars on social media.

Van Ness is still adjusting to the attention and the influence the show gives him.

"I absorb what I can. I'm a really empathetic person. I love really hard," he said, adding he is careful not to let the show's success change his spirit or put him out of touch with who he was before he became famous.

"No matter how much impact I have, I don't want that to make me scared, for instance, to speak my mind or stand up for something I believe in," he said. "This platform comes with so much responsibility -- wanting to live up to that for people, but at the same time I still want to be who I am."

Van Ness will share more of his life story in a memoir, Over the Top, due out Sept. 24 from Harper Collins.

"I've never worked so hard on something and given myself so much to a project," he said of his first book.

Van Ness started his podcast, Getting Curious, in 2015 to find answers to questions he has about religion, politics, health, the environment and entertainment.

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He has interviewed Margaret Cho, Katie Couric, Jodi Picoult and Bobby Kennedy Jr. for segments called "What's It Like to Be a Comedic Legend?," "How Can We Step in What Katie Couric Is Stepping In?," "How Do We Touch Untouchable Topics?" and "Who is Enforcing the Clean Water Act?"

The podcast recently celebrated its 100-episode milestone and, last summer, Van Ness tweeted about its high ranking on digital platforms.

"#GettingCurious actually got canceled the day before I booked Queer Eye. I kept creating & believing anyway. I'm so grateful 4 your support & (love,)" he tweeted.

Van Ness is helping Charmin give away toilet paper to people named John -- or with monikers that are derived from John -- during a social media campaign on Wednesday.

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