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Jonathan Van Ness is Cosmopolitan UK’s first non-female cover star for more than 30 years

Oh, this is a serve.

By Will Stroude

Just a couple of months after opening up about living with HIV, Jonathan Van Ness is continuing break ground as Cosmopolitan UK’s first non-female cover star in more than 30 years.

The non-binary Queer Eye star, 32, delivers serve after serve for the British women’s lifestyle magazine as they open up about their mission to break down the stigma which still surrounds HIV, declaring: “This is only the beginning.”

Posing for a stunning floral-themed shoot with photographer Rachell Smith, Jonathan says: “I’m quickly realising that there is still so much misunderstanding, so much sensationalising of living with HIV. The stigma and the difficulty around the process of getting treatment is creating that.  

Images courtesy of Cosmopolitan UK / Rachell Smith

“My work has only really just begun.”

Jonathan also addresses the recent social media furore surrounding an interview he did with Queer Eye’s Fab Five last year in which he made light of former US President Ronald Reagan’s failure to address the Aids crisis during the 1980s, explaining that he uses humour to cope with life’s adversities. 

Images courtesy of Cosmopolitan UK / Rachell Smith

“Diane von Furstenberg says, ‘Knowledge sometimes is not facts, it’s context,’ and that’s true”, they say. “Because if you only knew that one minute of that one video that you saw of me? I’d hate me too. I really would.

“If I saw the headlines of Queer Eye star reveals devastating HIV diagnosis’ and then, two days later, you see this one-minute video of me cracking jokes about Ronald Reagan’s treatment of people living with HIV, I would hate me too.

Images courtesy of Cosmopolitan UK / Rachell Smith

“But they also don’t understand that I’m someone who is living with HIV; that that was the first press tour I’d ever done; that I’m also a comedian who makes jokes out of stuff because if I didn’t make jokes about it, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.

“I have always used comedy as a way to soothe myself and move forward.”

Read the full interview with Jonathan Van Ness in the January issue of Cosmopolitan, on sale from 5 December.