One of the most delightful (and surprisingly heartwarming) new shows of 2018 has been the Netflix reboot of the beloved Bravo show ‘Queer Eye.’ Fans that devoured all eight episodes of season one surely noticed the sharp sartorial eye of Tan France, the group’s resident fashion expert.
In honor of the show’s upcoming second season — which debuts on Netflix on June 15 — we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about France.
1. He initially had doubts about joining the cast
A longtime fashion designer, France has said that he wondered how mainstream American audiences would react to his style. “I was offered the job and I said, ‘You’re out of your minds — I will ruin your show!” the 34-year-old France told the New York Post earlier this year. “They said, ‘No you won’t, we know how to cast. From what we know, there’s never been a gay, Muslim, British immigrant on a global platform before’ … that sold me on doing [it] — that people would meet a version of a person they’d never met before.”
2. He moved to Utah because of love
A common question many fans have about France’s life is an obvious one: How did a British Pakistani designer end up settling in Salt Lake City? The answer is a fairly straightforward one: He moved for love. Born Tanveer Safdar, he met his future husband Rob (a Mormon from Utah) on a dating site. While some may think that the pair must have had very different upbringings, the Frances say their cultures have quite a bit in common. “It made it easier to date somebody who had similarities to me. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke,” France told the New York Post. “We practice some of our religions’ practices. We don’t practice them all. We practice what works for us.”
3. He comes from a long line of fashion designers
France has said in interviews that he first became interested in fashion while watching his grandfather work at the clothing factory he owned in Pakistan
. The family’s company would create jeans and other denim products for Disney. France, who was born in England, began designing clothes for himself as an adolescent and would later enroll at Doncaster College to continue his studies. He started working for the fashion brand Zara shortly after graduating and began his own line, Kingdom & State, in 2011.
4. He knows the show can send a powerful message
While filming season one of ‘Queer Eye,’ France has said that he experienced a moment of Islamophobia from some of the clients featured on the show. “Two of our heroes asked, ‘Are you a terrorist?’ and it was a very honest question for them, France told Refinery 29 earlier this month
. “They weren’t trying to be funny. Our show is about bridging these divides and we are meeting with a lot of Republicans and this isn’t meant to be a liberal vs. conservative show at all. But it gives us an opportunity to have a very open conversation.” The two moments did not make it onto the episodes that aired and France said that was because the producers decided to focus on other social issues. He did, however, leave room for the topic to come up in future episodes. Maybe we can talk about Islamophobia next season!” he said. “But those kinds of questions are real for people.”
Image source: Tan France’s official website