Tan France has revealed he started bleaching his skin at the age of nine as he discussed the effects colourism has had on his life.
The Queer Eye star, 38, appeared on Tuesday’s This Morning to discuss his new BBC Two documentary Beauty And The Bleach.
Tan, who is from Doncaster, told how he became aware of his skin tone as young as three or four and had access to bleach a few years later.
Interview: Tan France has revealed he started bleaching his skin at the age of nine as he discussed the effects colourism has had on his life
He said: ‘I could get access at nine. I could get access. I was aware of my skin tone from three or four years old and was like, oh I’ve got to sort the problem out.
‘I only did it for a couple of weeks and then I did it again when I was older. I was a little bit darker than other members of the family. People will look at this and think, “he’s light what’s his problem?” But it’s all around you.’
Speaking about the difference between colourism and racism, Tan said: ‘Racism is when you are attacked or judged based on your race.
‘Colourism is within your own community and how light or dark you are. If you’re light you’re perceived as more worthy.’
Candid: The Queer Eye star, 38, appeared on Tuesday’s This Morning to discuss his new BBC Two documentary Beauty And The Bleach.
He said: ‘I could get access at nine. I could get access. I was aware of my skin tone from three or four years old and was like, oh I’ve got to sort the problem out’
Tan said he thinks a preference for lighter skin is due to ‘centuries of conditioning’ and he previously kept the fact he bleachd his skin private.
He said: ‘I didn’t mention it publicly because I didn’t want people saying, ‘wait, are you ashamed of your skin? Do you think people with darker skin aren’t as worthy?’
‘I just thought, I need to find a way to date, to get a job, potentially a marriage.’
Discussing products that can be bought to lighten skin, he added: ‘It’s hard to decide where the problem lies, it’s centuries of conditioning teaching us there’s only one way to be successful.
‘We can’t really blame the industry for providing this product. There are places in Africa and the Philippines where they will get whatever they can, literal bleach from a toilet.’
Heartbreaking: Tan said he thinks a preference for lighter skin is due to ‘centuries of conditioning’ and he previously kept the fact he bleachd his skin private
Tan also recalled being the victim of racism when he was a child and told how he was once beaten by a gang of thugs on his walk to school when he ws only five years old.
He said: ‘It’s the reason I don’t live in the UK now. I was 5 walking to school and on my own. My mum was working, my brother who would normally go to school with me was sick.
‘A group of men beat me and left me for dead and it was purely because I’m Pakistani and in England. It was common, it happened very regularly. Part of the reason I wanted to bleach was that people wouldn’t realise I was Asian.’
It comes after Tan recently revealed his guilt at bleaching his skin when he was younger, adding that his East Asian ‘elders’ encouraged him to ‘be as white as possible’.
Candid: It comes after Tan revealed his guilt at bleaching his skin when he was younger, adding that his East Asian ‘elders’ encouraged him to ‘be as white as possible’
The fashion designer admitted he felt ’embarrassed’ about the practice up until now and ensured to ‘hide the ways’ he was becoming ‘as light-skinned as possible’.
He told Radio Times: ‘Elders encourage you to try and find a way to be as white as possible by staying out of the sun and – this is going to sound ridiculous – avoiding dark foods that might encourage the skin to darken.
‘But I didn’t tell anyone about bleaching because I felt embarrassed.
‘You learn pretty early on to hide the ways in which you are trying to become as light-skinned as possible.’
The stylist previously confessed in his book Naturally Tan: A Memoir, that he wanted to be white aged just five.
Open: Tan admitted he felt ’embarrassed’ about the practice up until now and ensured to ‘hide the ways’ he was becoming ‘as light-skinned as possible’
Last year, Tan welcomed his first son, Ismail, with husband Rob with the help of a ‘wonderful’ surrogate.
He took to Instagram in August to share the happy news with his 3.8 million followers and revealed they welcomed their newborn last month but he had to spend three weeks in NICU after being born premaurely.
The new parents looked glowing in the precious snaps, as Tan cradled his newborn baby son.
Tan gushed: ‘Give our son a warm welcome. Ismail France, born July 10th. He came 7 weeks early, so he’s been in the NICU for the past 3 weeks. But, today, we finally got to bring him home.
‘We love him so, so much. Like, fully obsessed. Our Surrogate is doing so great, post labor, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the greatest gift in our lives.’.
Doting dad: Last year, Tan welcomed his first son, Ismail, with husband Rob with the help of a ‘wonderful’ surrogate
A slew of names have congratulated the new parents, with Great British Bake Off finalist Steven Carter-Bailey leaving a heartfelt message: ‘Ah wonderful news. Welcome baby France such a lucky baby with those papas xxx’.
Tan first announced he was expecting his first child back in April – thanks to ‘the greatest gift/help of the most wonderful surrogate.’
He made the joyous announcement via Instagram, which featured a playful snap of the television personality holding a sonogram over his chiseled stomach.
‘So happy to finally share that WE’RE HAVING A BABY!! No, I’m not pregnant, despite this VERY realistic pic,’ captioned Tan, noting that the baby would be arriving sometime ‘this Summer.’
Parenthood: Tan and Rob welcomed a child into the world thanks to ‘the greatest gift/help of the most wonderful surrogate’ (the pair pictured above)
‘Rob and I are lucky enough to be on our way to being parents, this Summer. Something we’ve wanted for SOooo many years.
‘Our hearts are so full right now. I cannot wait to hold this baby, and to show him so much love,’ concluded Tan, who boasts nearly 4million followers on the platform.
Along with his shirtless sonogram snap, Tan included a sweet image of himself and his husband of nearly 14 years posing before snow covered mountains.
Rob, a professional illustrator, also used his Instagram to unveil the couple’s pregnancy to the world.
‘We have a beautiful little angel on the way and I didn’t think it was humanly possible to feel like this,’ captioned the artist, who doubles as a paediatric nurse.
The couple, who are currently residing in Salt Lake City, Utah, wed back in 2007.
Good read: Tan’s interview can be found in Radio Times 23-29 April 2022 issue (Miriam Margolyes is pictured)