Featured Session: Jonathan Van Ness & ALOK
Jonathan Van Ness is an Emmy-nominated television personality, New York Times best-selling author, podcaster, and hairstylist to the stars. He stars on Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning reboot series “Queer Eye,” where he shines as the hair guru and self-care advocate, and he is the host and executive producer of the Netflix series “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness,” based on Jonathan’s popular podcast of the same name. He was a 2020 Primetime Emmy nominee for 'Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program' along with his "Queer Eye" cast mates. Jonathan also starred on the Emmy-nominated web series “Gay of Thrones,” a witty social commentary series recapping HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Launched in 2013, the series wrapped its eighth and final season last year and garnered Emmy nominations in 2016, 2018 and 2019 for ‘Outstanding Short Form Variety Series.’ Jonathan also continues to work on his passion project, his podcast “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness,” a weekly exploration of all the things Jonathan is curious about. The podcast was named one of the Top Podcasts of 2018 by Time Magazine, won the iHeart Radio Award for Best LGBTQ Podcast, and was a 2020 People’s Choice Award nominee for Best Pop Podcast. Jonathan was also a 2020 People's Choice Award nominee for 'Favorite Reality TV Star' for the second year in a row. Jonathan recently completed his first worldwide comedy tour “Jonathan Van Ness: Road to Beijing,” which included a sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall in NYC, as well as stops in London, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Jonathan will resume his comedy tour in the fall of 2021. In September 2019, he released his revelatory memoir, Over The Top: A Raw Journey To Self-Love, now a New York Times Best-Seller. Over The Top won the 2019 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Memoir & Autobiography and has been named a must-read book of 2019 by The New York Times, TIME Magazine and NPR to name a few. His appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" to discuss the book, living with HIV and HIV stigma earned a GLAAD Media Award for 'Outstanding Variety or Talk Show Episode.' Jonathan is passionate about using his platform and voice for change. As an avid supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, he worked closely with Planned Parenthood and The Trevor Project on campaigns tied to the release of his book that focused on removing the shame and stigma that comes along with talking about sexual health, as well as the long-lasting effects of bullying and how to overcome it. In December 2019, Jonathan made history as the first non-female solo cover star of Cosmopolitan UK in 35 years. In March 2020, Jonathan released his first children's picture book, Peanut Goes For The Gold, about a gender non-binary guinea pig who does everything with their own personal flare. Most recently, Jonathan launched JVN, a haircare line that sees all beauty, serves all beauty, and honors the uniqueness in each of us. Driven to change the beauty industry from within, Jonathan worked with Amyris, a leading synthetic biotechnology company and bio manufacturer of clean, sustainable, natural ingredients. Together, they developed scientifically-backed haircare formulas, combining the best in effective and clean ingredients, creating an innovative, first of its kind haircare collection that celebrates hair health and the uniqueness of each person.
ALOK (they/them) is an internationally acclaimed writer, performer, and public speaker. As a mixed-media artist their work explores themes of trauma, belonging, and the human condition. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017), Beyond the Gender Binary (2020), and Your Wound/My Garden (2021). They are the creator of #DeGenderFashion: a movement to degender fashion and beauty industries and have been honored as one of HuffPo’s Culture Shifters, NBC’s Pride 50, and Business Insider’s Doers. Over the past decade they have presented at more than 600 venues in 40 countries, most recently headlining the 2021 New York Comedy Festival.
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