The reality-show star says he's living with HIV, and speaks about being an addict and a sexual abuse survivor.

Jonathan Van Ness was having a late breakfast at the Empire Diner, around the corner from his one-bedroom apartment in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan.

Seated in a window booth, he was serving what he calls his "16th-century Jesus" look: Hollywood-starlet tresses, a moustache a la a Super Mario villain and fingernails painted with cartoon depictions from the 1996 film The First Wives Club.

But Van Ness was not feeling his normal gorgeous self, the boisterous "Yass queen" merman that fans

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Sex, drugs and hair

His own makeover