Jonathan Van Ness On Why He Doesn’t Like ‘The Real Housewives’


The ‘Queer Eye’ star shares which shows he loves and which he… doesn’t

Over the last two months, Netflix’s Queer Eye has skyrocketed to the top of everybody’s list of favorite television shows. It’s endearing and heartwarming and just the right amount of pure amusement. It’s the kind of show you’re not sure whether to binge or relish, since you know that, once it's over, there'll be a big Queer Eye-shaped hole in your life where the show once lived.

A big part of why the show is such a hit is new Fab 5 member Jonathan Van Ness. He handles the grooming part of the makeovers and has a personality as infectious as his unofficial "Can you believe?" catchphrase. And in the same way many people use Queer Eye as an escape from the rest of their lives, Van Ness, too, is somewhat television obsessed (he even has his own Emmy-nominated Funny or Die web series, titled "Gay of Thrones," where he recaps the HBO show). 

“TV is like my safe space at the end of the day,” he tells us. “After doing hair and running around, it's very much where I like to come home to. I would say that I definitely get in a good two hours, maybe three at night if I'm not going out, which is the usual prescription for me.”

There are two kinds of television watchers in 2018: the type that watch shows live, and the type who watch on their own time. Van Ness is part of the second group. He’s a self-declared “cable-cutter,” and subscribes to the streaming lifestyle. He also fluctuates between binge-watching and taking in shows one episode at a time—depending on his mood. “If I'm in for the weekend—I'm doing a little nest moment—then I can totally binge,” he says. “But then, if I'm really obsessed with a show and I don't want it to be over too fast, then I try not to binge. I was like that with Stranger Things. I was really milking her, I didn't want it to be over.” As any big TV watcher will tell you, the key to a good watchlist is diversification. “I feel about TV like how I feel about food. Like, someone who would smoke a lot of pot and can't decide what they want to eat, if they want something salty or sweet. That's how I am with TV," Van Ness says. "I'll want a little bit of Westworld, but then I'm like, 'Oh my god, I feel traumatized, let me get some Family Guy or some Modern Family.' Something to lighten the fare.” 

And so, ahead, we had Van Ness divulge what shows he loves and which ones he’s iffy about. Along with those listed below, he also mentioned Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale, House of Cards (“Robin Wright’s going to own this season so hard”), and, of course, Game of Thrones ("It's just becoming a callus in my gay heart that I have to wait until next summer. I’m compartmentalizing that, I don't want to think about it too much”) as shows he’s looking forward to watching once they return. Scroll through to see what he's watching, what he thinks about the Roseanne reboot, and why he’s not a Real Housewives fan.

I've been scared of watching Roseanne, but I feel like I need to. I've always been a fan of [Roseanne Barr] until I heard her talk so much recently. I thought she was this really hilarious comedian—and she still is a hilarious comedian—but I'm just like, "Alright, okay, okay." And not only is she a Trump supporter, but she's someone who perpetuates conspiracy theories on Twitter. [But] once I found out that Wanda Sykes is writing [on the show], and then there's Laurie Metcalf [acting in it], there's so much female creativity, and I'm so here for that. 

I'm very aware of TV shows that are people's creative livelihood, it's people's everything. I'm totally there to support all the other amazing women and actors on that show. And even [Roseanne], because she's allowed to have her views. That's cute, I guess. 

I guess I'm just confused. Are we normalizing, like, really crazy bad behavior? Or, are we meeting someone in the middle who has sincerely held beliefs? Because I'm down to meet you in the middle with a sincerely held belief, as long as you're not literally full racist. Which, you know, sometimes I wonder about our president. [I feel like what our show is about is that] you can't judge based off one person's political belief, even if you don't agree with them. I think that's a good lesson; I think that's a good conversation to be having now. 

Maybe I could have Roseanne on my podcast and have a talk and be like, "Why do you think like this, mommy? Let's have a chat, what's going on?"

British Bakeoff
I love British Bakeoff. It's, like, my everything. I think that with certain shows, they're very cathartic and comforting. I just like to watch them over and over and over again, and that's British Bakeoff for me. For years, it was Veep. I would watch Veep just when I wanted something on, and I could watch it over and over and over and never get sick of it. For the last three years, it's very much been British Bakeoff, but only Seasons 1 through 4, because I'm not here for a world that Mary Berry's not in. Even though I have heard that the new people are great—and I know that's ironic because I'm on a reboot, and we’re new hosts, and I should really be open to new people—I just love Mary Berry. I love her so much that my mom just made me a quilt that Mary Berry's on.

Wild Wild Country
Okay, everyone's obsessed with Wild Wild Country right now, which is on Netflix, which we love. Love our Netflix. But it's so intense. I can't binge on it like I did Making a Murderer, even though that was really intense, too. But I agree with everyone, that it's really, really good. I think it is amazing, but it takes me like two days to get through one episode because I'm like, "The Sheela lady, what is your deal? Are you cool or are you not?" Obviously, I'm only on episode two because it's taking me days to get through it. 

On reboots
I think there is something to be said for a formula working and people wanting to revisit that, whether that's having new people or different people, because it's not really the exact same thing. Especially with Queer Eye, I feel like it is a new version, and it does feel like it's grown, and it doesn't feel—to me anyway—like I'm resting on anything. I feel like I am pushing, and I am trying to get curious, and I am bringing everything I can in my personality in those situations to bring something authentic. I feel like Queer Eye grew up from the first version of it. I'm here for it, I'm totes here for it. 

One show that I'm really excited is back that is super-duper-good—not to tout the network that my show is on—but I'm obsessed with Joel McHale. His new show [The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale] is so cute, it's funnier than ever. Love him, I'm so glad that it's back. He always gives me such a good chuckle.

On spin-offs
I'm trying to think of a spin-off that I would like... Well, I loved The Golden Palace, it did not get the acclaim she deserved. That was the spin-off of The Golden Girls, like one season, maybe two. It was about the Miami bed and breakfast that they ran. So, I loved that one. 

I guess that means that spin-offs don't typically do super-well now that I'm thinking about it [laughs]. But, I feel like I'm gonna have such a gigantic Westeros-shaped hole in my heart that I feel like I will watch the spin-off of Games of Thrones. Especially if the original creators come back to do that, then for sure. I would definitely be here for it. I also think that, because Game of Thrones is such a rich world, picking the right spin-off, and picking the spin-off that could garner that much interest, would be important.

On guilty-pleasure shows
I'm obsessed with Family Guy. I love Bob's Burgers. I'm obsessed with Nailed It right now. Love Nicole Byer, cannot get enough of her on that show. I want more, I need more messed-up baking stuff all the time. Oh my god, Chopped, love Chopped. Really into it. I don't know, I never used to be into it, then, all of a sudden... I don't know if it was because of Queer Eye and working with Antoni [Porowski] so much, and then he's friends with Ted [Allen], so I was like, "Oh, Hulu, Chopped, there she is, she's cute, love it." Love me a Chopped moment. Talk about a cute concept. 

What else? Also, like, the news. I love the news, I'm always watching the news. My favorite is David Muir because I totally just want to get married to him. Like, if you ever read this, David, I'm single. I'm pretty sure you're straight, but who cares.  

On reality TV shows
Unscripted television sometimes just makes me feel hollow afterward. Like, "Oh my god, is that all there is?" I don't want to say anyone specifically, because I'm sure they're all really nice people, but, you know, just, like, reality TV that doesn't add to any sort of conversation about diversity or inclusivity. RuPaul Drag Race is like my favorite thing ever, obviously. But that's something that feels fun and amazing. I feel like if you have a platform, and you're on TV, [and not] furthering the conversation about something that you're passionate about other than the drama within your friend group, [that] feels empty to me. 

[Pauses]...I'm talking about The [Real] Housewives, I don't like the housewives! I don't like any of them! I'm sure they're probably really nice ladies, I'm sure they're all really, really sweet. But I just, I feel like I've worked in New York and L.A. for long enough that I've seen that type of person—when the cameras are off, and they're just not nice. And I just want to spend my time helping people feel better. I feel like I had to stop watching Law & Order: SVU—that used to be my Veep before Veep—because I was feeling so depressed after watching it. It literally left this film on my soul. And I was like, "Oh my god, this is actually making me depressed, putting myself around this energy is actually making me depressed." Because it's so heavy. And that's kind of how I feel about those type of shows. And maybe there are some good storylines, and I don't watch it, and I should get into it, because they are doing stuff for charity or women entrepreneurship or something cool and I haven't watched it, so I don't know. But, I don't like things that make me feel worse about people. I like things that make me feel better. 

Oh my god, I hope everyone doesn't come at me for saying that, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. And I'm sure that they're really nice. I'm sure that they're all sweet people who want to be loved, I'm sure. Or maybe they're vile. I don't know. Who knows?

Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for goop

"I had to create a harder shell about being a woman"

In a panel discussion during Gwyneth Paltrow's In Goop Health summit, actress Jessica Alba revealed that she "stopped eating" to avoid unwanted attention from men when she was first starting her career in Hollywood.

According to People, Alba said that she "had a curvy figure as a young girl" and, as such, was made to feel as though her body was the reason that men may be inappropriate toward her. "I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," Alba said during the panel discussion. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention. I went through a big tomboy phase."

She continued, "In Hollywood, you're really preyed upon. They see a young girl, and they just want to touch you inappropriately or talk to you inappropriately or think that they're allowed to be aggressive with you in a way."

Alba also noted that she was raised in a conservative household. "My mom would say, 'You have a body, and it's very womanly, and people don't understand that you're 12,'" she said. "I wasn't allowed to have my nalgas out, which is butt cheeks [in Spanish], but I was born with a giant booty, and they come out of everything. So, I didn't get to wear normal things that all my friends wore."

She said that these reactions to her body really affected her attitude. "I created this pretty insane 'don't fuck with me' [attitude]," she said. "I had to create a harder shell about being a woman."

According to her, her relationship to her body only changed when her first child, Honor, was born in 2008. "[After she was born,] I was like, Oh this is what these boobies are meant to do! Feed a kid!" she said. "And that was the dopest shit I'd ever done. So, I came into my body as a woman finally and I stopped being ashamed of myself."

Photo courtesy of Teva

Because of course

Teva, the most obvious lesbian footwear brand since Birkenstock, really knows its customer base. In time for Pride, the brand has teamed up with Tegan and Sara for a gay shoe to end all gay shoes. In other words, your Pride footwear is on lock.

The shoe isn't just your average Teva sandal. Tegan and Sara's design, the Teva Flatform Universal Pride sandal, is a 2.5-inch platform shoe with a rainbow sole. Tegan and Sara noted in a press release that they have been Teva wearers for pretty much their whole lives. "We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16," they said. "This rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation."

What's better, with each sandal sale, Teva will donate $15 to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, up to $30,000. The funds donated will go toward scholarships which will give young members of the LGBTQ+ community the chance to go to summer camps which will "help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment." Tegan and Sara added, "Teva's generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth."

Available today at Teva's and Nordstrom's websites, the sandal retails for $80.

Photo courtesy of Teva

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design"

Prada Group has announced that Prada, as well as all of its brands, will now be fur-free. According to a press release from the Humane Society, Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, and Car Shoe will ban the use of fur beginning with the Spring/Summer 2020 collection (aka the Fashion Week coming up next). The list of fashion designers banning fur only continues to grow, with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Coach, Armani, Versace, Gucci, and more having stopped using the material in seasons past.

"The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy—reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States—is an extension of that engagement," Miuccia Prada told the Human Society. "Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products."

Following London Fashion Week designers forgoing the use of fur in September and the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week taking place in February, it's easy to imagine an entirely fur-free fashion future. It's especially easy, I presume, for the brands to consider a fur-free future, given that entire cities and states are taking a stance. New York is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles banning fur, with a bill proposed this March that would ban sales across New York State.

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Photo by Johnny Dufort

"Club leisure" is the new athleisure

Alexander Wang is recognizing clubbing as the workout that it truly is with his latest Adidas collaboration. In this fifth installment, he "changes gears," per a press release from the brand, taking the iconic sports brand to the dance floor.

For the new campaign, the collection comes to life in iconic choreographer Tanisha Scott's dance studio and stars dancers Noemi Janumala, Dakota Moore, Avi McClish, and Olivia Burgess. The dancers show just how far these clothes can go when you want to bust a move or stretch, but TBH, I'll leave these poses to the pros and just use my clothes for flexing on the 'gram.

The collection—which features six apparel items, three shoes, and six accessories—features, per a press release, "Wang's knack for pre-styling." Standouts from the mostly black-and-white items include a silver sneaker that was *made* for moonwalking, an airy windbreaker that has just the right dash of bright blue with the scattered Adidas trefoil design, and a towel hoodie that you won't feel bad sweating in.

Ahead of the May 25 collection drop online and in stores, peep the gorgeous campaign images below.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Joggers, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Towel Hoodie, $350, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Sock Leggings, $60, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Adilette Slides, $90, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Futureshell Shoes in Platinum Metallic, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Core White, $280, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Shorts in Core White, $120, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Bum Bag, $50, available staring May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Duffle Bag, $70, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

And Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's reaction to that prediction is literally all of us

Though it felt like no one saw the bonkers end to Game of Thrones coming, Gwendoline Christie, who played Ser Brienne of Tarth on the show, predicted exactly who would end up with the majority of power in the Seven, or rather, Six Kingdoms years before it all went down. During an interview leading up to the penultimate season of Game of Thrones in 2017, Christie sat down with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Jaime Lannister) for an interview with Mario Lopez, and they were both asked to predict how the whole thing would come to a close. Spoilers ahead...

Lopez posed the question, "If you were a gambling man, who would you say?" Coster-Waldau replied: "Well gambling, the odds now are clearly in Daenerys Targaryan's favor. Or, that guy," he said, pointing to a picture of the Night King.

But Christie, knowing Game of Thrones' tendencies toward the unpredictable, came right back at Coster-Waldau, asking, "But don't you think it's going to be someone out of left field?"

"So I'm wondering if it might be Bran," Christie suggested, "Just because we keep seeing the world from his perspective, don't we? We keep seeing the visions. So is he in the future, projecting in the past?"

Coster-Waldau's reaction to the suggestion that Bran will rule over them all is, well, exactly how we all felt watching it play out in real time this past Sunday evening. "The three eyed raven? As a king? No, that doesn't make sense," he said. And, well, same. Because while I usually *adore* watching Christie shut down Coster-Waldau, like they're an old married couple bickering, this time I'm on his side. It made no sense!

Coster-Waldau attempted to reason with her, saying that if Bran was planning the whole thing, then he wanted Jaime to push him out the window, and that makes no sense at all. But Christie stood firm in her belief, and, as last Sunday demonstrated, her commitment to this highly improbably outcome paid off. We hope she placed a sizable bet in Vegas.

Catch the full clip below.