Queer Eye Star Tan France Bleached His Skin at 10-Years-Old
'Queer Eye' Star Tan France Bleached His Skin at 10-Years-Old
"The importance of being pale is very bizarre," says France in his new book, Naturally Tan.
Queer Eye star Tan France has opened up about his personal struggle with colorism in his new book, Naturally Tan.
"The importance of being pale is very bizarre," France wrote, reports Page Six. "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."
France grew up in England as the son of Pakistani immigrants and he struggled with feeling othered because of his skin color.
"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."
White European beauty standards in the media make many people of color very aware of how their skin color is perceived from a very young age. France opens up about a dream he had as a kid that "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."
France says that when he was 10-years-old, he took his cousin's cream and bleached his skin.
"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. 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."
Skin whiteners are a $17.9 billion dollar industry and very prominent in Asian, Middle Eastern, and African markets. "A white complexion is powerful enough to hide seven faults" is a common colloquialism among those who seek lighter skin in East Asia, reports CNN, as "skin color was long seen as a sign of social class."
The 36-year-old loves the skin he's in, but clearly it took some time to get to that point of acceptance and self-love.
"If you ask me what my favourite thing about my appearance is, I’ll say my skin. 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."