‘Queer Eye’ star Tan France bleached his skin at age 10
In his new memoir, “Queer Eye” star Tan France reveals that as a child, he stole bleaching cream from his cousin and tried to lighten his skin.
“The importance of being pale is very bizarre. The people around me certainly didn’t intend to pass on this belief, but I was aware of it and affected by it just the same,” wrote France, who grew up in England as the son of Pakistani immigrants. “When I was five, I remember thinking, ‘God, I’d give anything to be white. I just want to be white, I want to be white, I want to be white.’ I had been so conditioned to think that if you were white, you were automatically more attractive.”
The now-36-year-old took his cousin’s cream and bleached his skin when he was just 10 years old, never telling anyone what he was doing.
“I haven’t had the balls to tell her I took it, because, since then, I’ve been ashamed of the fact that I succumbed to the pressure,” the Netflix host admitted, adding, “I kept the dirty little secret to myself. I’d only use it at night, before bed, when no one else was going to catch me. Let me tell you, that s–t hurt.”
France spends a lot of his book, “Naturally Tan,” talking about how hard it was growing up as a South Asian person in England, and the constant fear of being bullied just for walking around the neighborhood. He said that if his brother wasn’t walking to school with him, he would run there out of fear of getting beaten up.
“I had another dream as a kid, which angers me now,” he wrote. “But I’ve talked to many friends of colour who have told me they shared the same dream, and that is to wake up white. I first had that dream when I was very, very young, because I worried constantly that if I went outside the house, bad things would happen to me.”
He didn’t tell anyone about the dreams back then because he said he didn’t want to appear “weak.”
After everything he went through, France is now proud of his identity.
“If you ask me what my favourite thing about my appearance is, I’ll say my skin,” he said. “I think my skin colour is beautiful. As a ten-year-old, I could never have imagined that you could find my skin colour beautiful, and I’m willing to bet most nonwhite people have thought the same thing.”
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