The Book: Naturally Tan
Author: Tan France
Publisher: Virgin Books, Penguin Random House
Genre & Themes: autobiography, fashion, self care, racism
I’m so excited for today’s blog post! We went to the event that was hosted by Penguin Live at Hackney Empire back in June. It was such a fun evening – Tan was chatting to Greg James about the book, life on Queer Eye, and just generally having a good time. I also managed to catch one of the t-shirts he threw out into the crowd. Like really, I think that’s the luckiest thing to ever happen to me. I’ve peaked.
When we saw him live, they asked the audience, with a show of hands, who spent way more time getting ready than usual to come to this event. The majority of people raised their hands, which is HILARIOUS, because earlier on, I was haphazardly fretting about what to wear. You can’t just casually swagger on into an event when it’s Tan France. It’s Tan bloody France. It was hilarious, as Tan was simply like “But guys, I can’t see you! You’re all sitting up there, in the darkness”
Both his talk, and the book was so refreshingly honest – he referred to himself as a vile bitch on multiple occasions where he quit his job half way through the day. I love that he’s so open, and really calls you out on your bullshit.
No but really, this book was truly incredible. I love that we get some legitimate fashion advice and on brand Tan France wisdom alongside funny anecdotes from both his life and Queer Eye, and his experience of being brown in the UK and in the US.
One of the things he spoke about was the importance of having a South Asian gay guy on TV, and what that would have meant to him as a child.
I co-read this book with my partner and it was so nice to chat in the evenings about where we were up to, and what we thought about it. If you’ve already finished the latest series of Queer Eye and are deeply missing your fave boys, go and pick up Tan’s book right now. When I finished it, I felt such a deep level of the importance of self-care. It truly is nourishing for the soul.
It felt like having an open and honest conversation with a friend who wasn’t afraid to tell you how it is. He was very honest about how his levels of fame have changed, and what that has meant for his life and his relationship. Him and his husband, Rob, are honestly goals.
It was so interesting to hear about his life and his experiences both before and after Queer Eye. He talks about how he got the job – a job he was never intending on actually getting -, and about how he really didn’t feel that he was cut out for it at the beginning. It’s not all about Queer Eye though, by any means. It’s a real mix of advice and stories that made for a really quick and excellent read.
This book is a wild ride that throws you from really deep and serious discussions around racism, to when it is and isn’t appropriate to wear sweatpants. It’s a wild ride I would highly recommend everyone take!