Queer Eye’s Tan France went from virtually unknown to a global star in a moment.
Born to Punjabi Pakistani parents in South Yorkshire, the young kid interested in style and fashion wanted to make it big all his life.
But then, after years studying fashion, he ended up cast as one of the Fab Five on Netflix’s Queer Eye.
The reboot is a global smash, airing in hundreds of countries on the streaming platform.
Tan spoke to Gay Star News about filming in Japan, season three, and the style tip the internet ‘ruined’ for him.
Tan France on filming upcoming episodes of Queer Eye
GSN: What was it like filming in Japan?
Tan: It’s incredible. I had the time of my life. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there before but it’s just stunning. The episodes we shot there are unlike anything we’ve ever done before.
Did you Marie Kondo a few closets?
(laughter) Nobody can Marie Kondo like Marie Kondo.
Series three definitely feels a lot more confident. Can you speak to that?
We all found our stride with this season. Here’s the thing, before we shot season one and two, I’d never been in front of a camera before. We’d only met each other a couple of times prior filming.
We were trying to make something happen out of nowhere. Now it’s a very well oiled machine. We work so hard together – the five of us. It feels more fun than ever. It makes for a confident season.
You’re all definitely becoming well known for your individual quirks, like you and the French tuck.
The French tuck I’ve been doing since I was a kid. It’s become such a meme. Most of us have been doing it for ages but they didn’t know it had a name. Now it’s become a thing. There are definitely things that I don’t do in season three that I would have done in seasons one and two.
‘The internet ruined it for me!’
What sort of things are you not doing now?
Well, for example, I don’t wear a short sleeve printed shirt and I don’t put anyone in one either.
That’s a shame – I love a printed shirt!
I love a printed shirt too! The internet ruined it for me!
Why listen to the internet?
They’re a great sounding board. If they’ve seen something too much then you’re going to know about it very quickly. Because a season drops in one day, people are bingeing the whole season over and over and they know the show so much. We get a lot of feedback.
Where did you get your hula hooping skills?
I’ve loved hula hooping ever since I was a kid. I’m nowhere near as good as I used to be. I used to be able to travel the hoop all the way from my arms down to my toes. I didn’t ever think I had a party trick but it turns out now I do.
Tan France: ‘I’ve changed my mind…about guns.’
What was it like being around all those guns in the first episode? As an English person was that a little weird?
I’ve in America for 11 years as my husband’s family live in Wyoming. I’ve been around guns a lot. This was the first time that I’ve been able to talk about it as there are some things that you just don’t talk about with your in-laws without worrying it’ll affect the relationship.
It wasn’t normal. I felt like being with Jodie actually changed how I feel about guns. Jodie was so respectful and responsible with how she treats guns. I always thought we should take everyone’s guns away. But she spoke to me about why she uses them and I’ve changed my mind. I don’t have a problem with the way she uses them. I still believe everyone needs to have a license and they shouldn’t be as easily accessible as they are now.
How many things do you typically save in a ‘yes’ clothes pile?
It depends on the person honestly. With Jodie, if we saved two things I’d be surprised. There are some people. With one guy in Japan, I kept almost everything in his closet. It depends on the person. It depends on how far removed they are from style.
First lesbian hero, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and why Tan doesn’t want to make over a LGBTI celebrity
What can you tell me about the rest of the season?
I haven’t seen the season yet! We shoot 12 hours a day five or six days a week. There are scenes that we’re not in so I only know what happens when I’m there. There is our first lesbian hero. Her story’s incredible. I’m glad we’re offering more diversity. We’re only five guys so we can’t represent everyone in the LGBTQ community. However, with our heroes, we can represent a greater breadth of our community.
I’m a big Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fan. What was it like filming the cameo?
Terrifying. That was my first scripted job ever. I was physically sick. I knew my lines 100%, I got them a couple of days before, but the second I arrived on set I couldn’t remember a word. It was the most daunting experience. On Queer Eye I say whatever I want, we don’t reshoot anything, as it’s a real reality show. It was very difficult having to play somebody else. It definitely wasn’t easy. However, it was a great experience and I can’t wait to do more scripted work.
Which LGBT celebrity, if any, would you make over?
None. I’m going to give you a very Queer Eye answer. What we do, we’re not looking to just make over somebody’s wardrobe. What we do is set out to change hearts and minds. It’s about changing perceptions. To my mind, there’s no one in the media that’s LGBTQ that needs that kind of help.