Clad in a black organza cape by Atelier By Fang and a pair of classic Prada heels, Jonathan Van Ness made an entrance at the MTV VMAs.
Like Pose’s Billy Porter, the Queer Eye star is one of the most exciting celebrities to look out for on a red carpet. His dedication to breaking down gender stereotypes and his passion and love of fashion is invigorating. As his Queer Eye co-star Tan France told Stylist.co.uk this month: “He loves an Instagram look.” It’s why, according to France, Van Ness is the member of the Queer Eye Fab Five most likely to over pack and over spend when they’re on location. “The biggest spender is probably Jonathan,” France said. “He does love a shoe!”
But he also faced some vicious trolling on social media from those criticising Van Ness’ outfit. Today, the reality television star shared a powerful statement on his Twitter, responding to the haters in the most perfect way.
“The VMAs were so major for me,” Van Ness began. “I’ve gotten caught up in reading some really judgemental mean stuff about me. Some people hated my outfit, some hate me, they think I’m fake, irritating, too loud, too femme. But really I have to stay focused.”
He continued: “When I was young I wasn’t seeing people like me on the VMAs presenting awards to one of the biggest pop stars around. I’m doing work that I’m passionate about and I do it authentically. Reminding myself that this moment is beautiful for me and proud femme non binary people.”
Van Ness’ fans responded to his tweet by sharing the ways in which the star has changed their lives.
“You give me life,” one fan wrote. “I wear whatever the fuck my short ass desires because of you and those who celebrate themselves like you. You are life.”
Another said: “Some people just can’t stand to see a beautiful, pure soul who is absolutely thriving. Must be such a sad existence for them.”
“Literally. Do. Not. Change,” one fan added. “Fuck the haters. They can buy a map and a car and go to hell.”
Van Ness’ tweets are a reminder of the dangers of social media trolling and of judgmental commentary, but they are also a lesson in how to deal with haters. Van Ness almost got bogged down in the negativity, but instead he pushed himself to focus on the positive. He focused on the power of his authenticity, the significance of his platform and the importance of representation.
And he did it all with poise and grace. Van Ness, we are not worthy.