Queer Eye’s Tan France opens up about racism and the ‘sickening’ discrimination he has faced

Queer Eye‘s resident style sage Tan France has spoken out about being a person of colour in the spotlight.

Tan France, the fashion designer and heartthrob of the all-new Fab Five, recently opened up about his experiences with discrimination both in Britain and in the United States.

Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is more woke than the original – dealing with Trump’s America and police brutality while bringing the ‘Fab Five’ on a mission of acceptance across… well, across the state of Georgia.

In an interview with Vogue, the British style icon spoke out about his experiences as a person of colour and how he represents several often unseen minorities on television.


“I wanted to show the world a version of me and everything that I represent, because I represent a lot that’s never really been seen before: an Asian person on American TV, who’s British, gay and follows a certain religion,” France said.

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The 35-year-old went on to contrast the discrimination he faces in the US with the prejudice he faced back in England.

“I don’t get called the same names as I did at home in the north of England. I would often get called a ‘Paki’, and that’s sickening in this day and age.

He added: “It was really important for me to have open dialogues on the show to break down these misconceptions about what I might represent.”

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 07: (L-R) Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, and Karamo Brown attend Netflix's Queer Eye premiere screening and after party on February 7, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Netflix)

(Rich Fury/Getty Images for Netflix)

Queer Eye has been widely praised since its return for going further than the stereotypes the show used to promote, and finding a format with heart and soul as the show tackles multiple issues, both on and off screen.

In the interview, France stated that one of the show’s participants – known as ‘heroes’ – asked France whether he was a terrorist.

“It was very shocking and very jarring,” the fashion designer said. “That set the tone for me and made it clear why I was doing the show. I wanted to set the record straight.”

He added: “I’ve experienced racism and homophobia my whole life, so I’ve trained myself to just deal with it calmly, to not cause a scene and to find a way to calm the situation down.”


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Tan France has also previously spoken out about travelling as a married gay man and how he often has to hide his sexuality when he travels.

“As a gay man, there are certain places that I avoid. When I go to China, I lie and pretend I’m not married, which is really sad—I leave my ring at home,”  France said in April.

“But I’m not willing to risk my safety in a country that could cause me no end of problems or where it’s illegal to be gay.”

Queer Eye landed on our screens in February and the eight-episode series was a roller coaster of emotions that has left fans desperate for more.

On March 26, streaming giant Netflix confirmed they had renewed Queer Eye for a second season – that they had already filmed.