'I Just Wanted To Be White': Queer Eye's Tan France Began Bleaching His Skin At Age 10
Queer Eye's resident fashionista opened up about his long journey to self-acceptance.
He's all about self-love and body positivity -- but it wasn't always that way for Tan France.
Opening up about his life and struggles with body image in his memoir Naturally Tan, France spoke about his history with skin bleaching products after discovering it among his cousin's belongings at the age of 10.
"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," he wrote in the memoir. "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 shit hurt."
Despite the known side effects of skin lightening -- including rashes, kidney damage, and psychosis -- along with several countries already banning lightning products, it continues to be a hot commodity among cultures that view fair skin as a symbol of beauty.
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"The importance of being pale is very bizarre," France wrote in the memoir. "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."
Luckily, France has since developed self-confidence, and learned to love the skin he's in. In fact, he said it's now what he loves most about himself.
"If you ask me what my favourite thing about my appearance is, I'll say my skin," he wrote. "I think my skin colour is beautiful. As a 10-year-old, I could never have imagined that you could find my skin colour beautiful, and I'm willing to bet most non-white people have thought the same thing."