Jonathan Van Ness on Netflix Series Getting Curious
"Getting Curious" Host JVN on the Importance of Network Visibility Backed Up by Legislative Support
Jonathan Van Ness is back on Netflix — this time solo. His new series, "Getting Curious," is a video extension of their long-running podcast of the same name. The show explores topics from the beauty of bugs, to the complex origins and impacts of the gender binary, to the history of hair (yes, "Queer Eye" fans). With the help of educators, scientists, activists, and a few famous friends, Van Ness sheds light on questions relating to what they're passionate about. POPSUGAR caught up with the TV personality about bringing the series to television, producing her first solo series, and how Hollywood can dismantle the "othering" of marginalized communities.
Van Ness expresses being "conflicted" at the idea that Hollywood representation is a starting point for trans and nonbinary advocacy. But if he had to address the topic of allyship in entertainment, he said: "Hollywood is very intertwined with companies, and what are a lot of companies doing right now? They're supporting a lot of candidates who are doing what? Passing horrific anti-trans bills on state levels. They're also giving a lot of money to Republicans who have been systematically blocking the Equality Act, [and] systematically blocking [the] Voting Rights Act legislation. I think voting rights is disproportionately affect[ing] people of color [and] LGBTQIA+ people." While she agrees award shows should push away from the binary, legislation is where trans and nonbinary people need allyship the most — especially during this midterm election year, "to make sure that we can continue to make progress on these hard-fought issues that we've made some [movement on], but we have not made as much as we need to."
"I am a nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, HIV-positive person who has been given a chance to tell stories and to create their own series on a platform that is in 190 countries.
They continue that their show "Getting Curious" is a prime example of how Hollywood could extend its allyship. "I am a nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, HIV-positive person who has been given a chance to tell stories and to create their own series on a platform that is in 190 countries, into how many hundreds of millions . . . it's a lot of people."
Van Ness adds that major networks like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and NBC should practice "giving gender diverse, giving diverse people, giving BIPOC people more opportunities to shine, more opportunities to create their stories, [and] more opportunities to tell their own stories."
The "Queer Eye" star was given more opportunity than only visibility when it came to his show "Getting Curious": Van Ness is the executive producer and creator. "For my first solo project of getting to be an executive producer and being a creator of a show, I felt a little bit more sure of my voice and sure of my style as a host and as an entertainer, playing in this world of 'Getting Curious,' but changing it, making [it] a little bit quicker paced, making it a little bit more suitable for TV," she explains of the choice to bring the podcast to television. Van Ness added: "I felt like I could push myself and challenge myself as a producer and as a writer and as a creator and as a host, but not do something so new to me that it wouldn't translate and wouldn't be engaging. I just felt confident that I could create an engaging series out of this podcast."
"Getting Curious" will have you wanting to ask "why" and "how" a lot more when it comes to the things that interest you, which is ultimately the goal. "I hope that [viewers] take away more knowledge, more of a sense of curiosity, [and] maybe more confidence to go explore what they're curious about in life," Van Ness says. "Curiosity is really fun and you actually can be curious and do it safely." "Getting Curious" premieres on Netflix on Jan. 28.