A “strong, black lesbian woman” is ready to go back to college after her “Queer Eye” fans raised enough to pay off her student loans.
Jess Guilbeaux, 23, tried putting herself through college at the University of Kansas, but she “had to drop out due to debt,” according to a GoFundMe set up by one of her supporters. She was studying computer science and excited to call KU her home, according to the university website.
“Jess Guilbeaux, from Queer Eye Season 3, Episode 5, is a strong, black lesbian woman,” the GoFundMe by Vanessa Gamet says. “Let’s send this smart and strong woman back to college to complete what she began and give her the future she deserves.”
The page was set up on March 16, with a goal of raising $100,000 to “Send Jess Back To College!”
Now less than a month later, Jess has said she is ready to go back to school.
“I wanted to update everyone on what your wonderful gifts have helped me do and my process to getting back to school,” an update, posted by Gamet on behalf of Guilbeaux, says. “I have paid off all my student loans!! I’m so excited and ready to continue my education with a fresh new start. Thank you so so so much for everything!
The GoFundMe has raised more than $92,000 as of April 7, and the campaign is still “trending.”
“She managed to pay off her student loans thanks to the generosity of the national and international community,” GoFundMe spokesperson Aja Shepherd told The Wichita Eagle. “Donations came in from nearly all 50 states, including Washington, D.C. and more than 25 countries and territories.”
Guilbeaux garnered love and support when “Queer Eye,” streaming on Netflix, told her story.
This season of “Queer Eye” is based in Kansas City, and it “features the Fab Five giving some ‘amaze’ area men and women life-changing doses of self-care and self-confidence,” the Kansas City Star reported.
Netflix describes the “Black Girl Magic” episode of “Queer Eye” as one where “a young lesbian struggling with her identity opens her heart to let people in, only to discover she’s much stronger than she realized.”
Guilbeaux was 16 years old when she told her adoptive family that she was gay, The Wichita Eagle previously reported, and her parents kicked her out of the home.
“Her religious, adoptive family disowned her at 16 when she came out as lesbian,” Entertainment Weekly reported. With no house to call home, the Kansas teen “bounced around on couches and tried to put herself through college,” according to the magazine.
She is also a waitress at The Mad Greek in Lawrence, Kansas, and earlier this year she started performing in drag shows, according to her social media pages.
Guilbeaux considered herself “stressed, chaotic (and) confused,” KCTV reported, before the Fab Five’s “hip tips, emotionally charged makeovers and heartfelt reveals.”
All she wanted to be was a “strong black woman,” Refinery29 reported. Her “five gay dads” on the show helped her realize she already was one, E! Online reported.
“i learned how to love my natural curls, love my highly melanated skin, and all of what makes up who i am (a fierce gay kween™️),” she posted on Instagram. Guilbeaux is a lesbian “hero,” Refinery29 reported.
On Twitter, Guilbeaux confirmed that Gamet reached out to her about the GoFundMe, “and it’s safe.”
“This is so sweet. i have no words. i’m dehydrated at this point,” Guilbeaux tweeted along with the “loudly crying face” emojis.