Petite men’s and women’s fashion advocate Tan France, arguably the most reserved member of the Fab Five on Netflix’s Queer Eye, admitted in an interview with USA TODAY that Tina Fey’s Bossypants is one of his favorite books.
France is an internationally successful stylist. He published his memoir, Naturally Tan, on Tuesday. Since his role as the wardrobe expert on Queer Eye launched France into stardom, he has styled celebrities and made appearances on late-night TV, but France was an accomplished fashion designer and manufacturer for brands like Zara and Chanel before he was asked to interview for his position on the show.
The memoir’s existence alone marks a public first for France, who has said during several interviews and even on the show that he and his husband value the privacy of their domestic life. He is also reluctant to share details about his past, like his traumatic coming-out story and the uphill battle he was forced to wage as a closeted, aspiring fashion designer raised by a family that expected him to be a doctor or lawyer.
“I used [the memoir] as an opportunity to finally tell my story my way,” France told USA TODAY, “and hopefully be able to represent a community that I feel is so massively underrepresented.”
France uses the memoir to open up — albeit selectively — about much of his early life and career, both within and outside of his extended family circle. France, who often travels overseas and is an immigrant to the US, recounts how he used to be detained nearly every time he flew back into the U.S. Now, however, France says customs officers tend to recognize him as a TV personality before they pull him aside for a “random inspection.”
France, raised in England, comes from a Pakistani family, and lives with his husband in Salt Lake City, Utah — so he is no stranger to the feeling of being an outsider, especially in America. Even as France continues to redefine the fashion industry and helps Queer Eye “heroes” build confidence through their wardrobes, France does not want to forget to keep paving the way for Pakistani-Americans like himself to pursue their dreams.
Even if he did not have a particular celebrity crush who looked or talked like him growing up, France hopes he can be that figure to young adults now.
With Naturally Tan, France joins the ranks of the other four members of the Fab Five, all of whom have published written works.
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