Tan France at Coffman Memorial Union
“Queer Eye” is truly about more than just a makeover
By: Maya Ulrich
When Tan France walked into the Great Hall of Coffman, with his perfectly coiffed salt and pepper hair, he claimed the spotlight that was given to him. Stepping out of the screen of Netflix’s original series, “Queer Eye,” France looked like the renowned fashion expert that he is on the show. As soon as he sat down in the plushy, mustard yellow chair, he set the tone for how the night was going to go. Immediately, he claimed that the Dasani water bottle given to him was a scam—they have done studies in England that have found that it is actually just regular tap water—and he would not endorse such a thing; he ripped off the label and threw it away, eliciting uproarious laughter from the audience. His next endeavor in charming the college students in front of him was attempting a Minnesotan accent. As he did so, his normally posh British voice became nasally as he stressed the “a” and “r” in car.
After really connecting with the audience through his good-natured humor, classy demeanor, and extremely bubbly persona, the moderator started asking France questions that engaged with the intersections of his sexuality, ethnicity, growing up in a South Asian household, and representation in extremely white spaces—especially that of Hollywood. He handled each question with more vulnerability and honesty than was expected of a celebrity figure in a random collegiate space. In this vulnerable state, in a somewhat heartbreaking moment, he stated that he often feels like people in America might think prejudiced things, but they do not say them, compared to in Britain, where they will shout racially charged things at him while he is walking down the street. He said that this has made him feel more at home here than in his home country.
At 5’9,” he seems extremely petite compared to his self-proclaimed “white giants” (and Karamo). However, his confidence, personality, and drive to be the representation he never saw in the media has made him a huge force of inspiration in many people’s lives, proving that France’s role in “Queer Eye” is truly about more than just a makeover.