This Sunday, the epically amazing, legging-sporting, hair-tossing Jonathan Van Ness of Netflix’s Queer Eye and the hilarious web series, Gay of Thrones, will be joining forces with Smirnoff on their float in NYC’s Pride parade. And that’s not all Smirnoff is doing to celebrate Pride. This year, the vodka brand is donating $1 from each special edition, rainbow-hued Love Wins Smirnoff No. 21 bottle to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Over the next three years, the brand will donate a minimum of one million dollars to the advocacy group, which lobbys for LGBTQ rights.
We caught up with Van Ness in anticipation of his Pride appearance to talk about his choice of day drinking cocktail, his favorite Pride memory and his number one tip for looking great after a day of parading.
Supercall: What advice do you have for someone celebrating Pride for the first time, especially in a big city like New York or L.A.?
Jonathan Van Ness: Pace yourself, honey. Pride is such a great time to celebrate and have the most fun. Allow yourself to explore it and have fun and be playful, but remember it comes every year, so you should definitely pace yourself. Sunscreen, we love. We love staying hydrated. Also, get a cute little day bag, a little fanny pack with your sunscreen—always keep a reapplication of sunscreen with you—and a Mophie phone charger so you don’t have your phone die. It’s a think ahead pack.
SC: Pride is an all-day celebration. What’s your go-to day drink?
JVN: A Love Wins Cocktail is so gorgeous and she’s simple, which I love. It’s basically just a No. 21 Smirnoff moment and then just lemon juice, club soda, simple syrup. If you’re at home, that’s how you make her.
SC: What about if you’re at an extremely crowded bar? What’s your order then?
JVN: I love a little Smirnoff and soda, honey. Just give me a little Smirnoff and soda with a little lime juice in there, and get out of dodge.
SC: What is one thing people can do when they get home from a long day of partying to keep them looking good?
JVN: Going off and having too many drinks is never what the aim is. So let’s start out by having a responsible amount for yourself. But in general, whether you drink one or two responsible drinks or not, put on eye cream honey. Just gently upwardly and outwardly apply eye cream to your under eye area—it’s called lymphatic massage. Just apply it upwardly and outwardly for 30 seconds to a minute under each eye at night and then the same thing in the morning—I do that all the time anyway. That’s something that keeps your under eye looking detoxed and gorgeous. But again, honey, if we had so much alcohol that you need some sort of full facial moment, we did too much. So let’s really bring it back to center, honey, and let’s just have like one. Like a little sippy moderate moment, because we love that.
SC: What is a favorite Pride moment of yours from years past?
JVN: The last five years i’ve been shooting Gay of Thrones, like, every Pride. I’ve been such a worker for the last Prides. But there was one Pride two or three years ago, we wrapped Gay of Thrones, we were in L.A., and Pride was still going on that Sunday night. We had a really fun night shooting an extra part on the ending where we were teasing that we were maybe going to recap The Walking Dead. We had these zombies out in West Hollywood and we were shooting fun dance movie montages. It was so fun and bizarre. It was a moment.
SC: What are you excited about this year?
JVN: This year i’m so excited to be a part of the Smirnoff float. Basically, what got me involved with the Smirnoff campaign this year, was that the bottle is gorgeous—she’s giving me all these rainbow moments, which I live for visually. But also for every bottle of the Love Wins they’re donating $1 to the HRC campaign, which is so important because HRC does so many things for so many people who are near and dear to my heart. That was the first thing that I was like, yes pride, yes donation, I love that. I live for a company that can put LGBTQ empowerment in the forefront of what they think about. Visibility is so important to us as a community, and I just love that.
SC: What do you have planned for the float? Do you have any moves worked out?
JVN: There’s going to be some pretty major float dancing and float strutting and float moments. But I’m more of an improv queen, myself. I will bust out a Beyonce choreographed dance for the ‘gram. But I feel like for a pride float it’s more of a free flowing situation. More fluid, if you will.
SC: What are you going to wear? Are you going to match the bottle?
JVN: Oooh, that’s a really good idea. Maybe you just gave me my Pride look. Maybe I need a very translucent, sheer, gradient rainbow.
Smirnoff Love Wins Cocktail
1.5 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Love Wins Vodka
.75 oz Simple Syrup
.75 oz Lemon Juice
Dash of Club Soda
Strawberry, for garnish
Combine vodka with simple syrup and lemon juice in a copper mug.
Fill with ice, top with club soda, then garnish with a strawberry.