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Tan France: ‘I was conditioned to think light skin was better’

When Tan France released his autobiography in 2019, it wasn’t the accounts of the constant racism he experienced growing up in Doncaster in the 1980s that caught the media’s attention, nor was it his glitzy tales of recent fame as one of the stars of the Netflix makeover show Queer Eye. Instead, what hit the headlines was the confession that he used skin-bleaching cream as a nine-year-old that hit.

“Back in the UK, if I went a week without being called a P-word on the street, that was really something,” France says over a video call from his current home in Salt Lake City, Utah. “When I was five I was chased and beaten up by a group of white men on my way to school. But it was this one account of me trying to lighten my skin as a child that the press made an unexpectedly huge deal of.

Read the interview in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 15/04/22]

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