strange eye Star Tan France considered using bleach to lighten his skin when he was just nine years old.
The fashion designer, who is hosting a new documentary on colorism, previously wrote about bleaching his skin in his 2019 autobiography Naturally Tanned: A Memoirdescribing his experience of growing up in Doncaster and being subjected to racial abuse in the 1980s.
“If I wasn’t called a P-word on the street for a week, that was really something,” said France, who is British-American with Pakistani heritage The guard in a new interview. “When I was five, I was chased and beaten on my way to school by a group of white men.”
Of admitting he had tried to lighten his skin, he said: “I was just a kid and I felt so much pressure to be lighter. The embarrassment I experienced about my skin outside the home haunted me, so I applied the cream.”
France added that colourism, a form of discrimination based on the color of a person’s skin, “is ubiquitous and is not the same as racism”.
He said, “Often people within communities of color are themselves discriminated against because of the darkness of their skin, and this has lifelong effects of internalized shame.”
In the documentary, he confesses that he used bleach on his skin again at the age of 16. “Not until we started filming [the documentary] and we spoke to adults who still felt this pressure that I realized I had to admit to doing it again at 16,” he said.
“I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t, but I still feel ashamed because I was old enough to understand better.”
Tan France: Beauty & the Bleach airs April 27 at 9pm on BBC Two.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/tan-france-queer-eye-bleach-skin-b2058836.html Queer Eye’s Tan France reflects on using bleach on his skin at the age of nine