Tan France, one of the five stars of the new Netflix reboot of Queer Eye, talks his upbringing, his style, and his journey to fame in his new memoir out this May: Naturally Tan.
This is a pretty typical memoir set around choices of fashion and style. Jewelry is a chapter where he talks about his marriage and its importance to him, swimsuits is where he talks about his business that launched via one-pieces, etc. Yes, Tan talks about growing up in a traditionally conservative South Asian British family, hiding his sexuality, being concerned about his appearance, etc, but he didn’t have some horror story about coming out like you hear in other places, which is great. His love story with his husband is really adorable and I wish we saw more about their personal lives on the show! Having such a successful marriage, especially in a conservative state like Utah, in light of fame and business and all that is something to celebrate and makes him a much more compelling coach in my eyes. Similarly, I really liked reading about the casting process for Queer Eye and seeing how early the Fab 5 connected. I’m still super confused as to what this casting call looked for–Seeking Gays Who Can Fix Others?– but I’m so glad it all worked out.
I liked the book overall, I really did, but I didn’t feel like Tan had the kind of…self-awareness?..that makes memoirs great. He wasn’t self-deprecating enough, he talked about quitting jobs willy-nilly with no regard for how truly awful that is and how privileged it made him sound, and his concerns over people “approaching him” on the streets took up a lot more time than I wanted as someone who actually knows how to respect others.
Overall, this book wasn’t AMAZING. It was a good look at Tan’s life, I learned more about him, and I’m excited for Queer Eye season 3.