Season 3 of The Barneys Podcast, hosted by Noor Tagouri, kicks off today with guest Tan France. Most people know him as the charming Queer Eye style guru with quick wit and a chic gray pompadour—but he’s much more than what meets the eye. In this episode, he talks about life before Netflix fame, opening up about how he actually never intended to be famous and nearly quit the show during the first season.
He goes all the way back to his childhood, growing up in a mostly white English suburb, feeling different not just because of his Muslim Pakistani family, but also because he didn’t fit the expected mold of a boy that his culture and community projected on him. Instead of vocalizing leanings that might be deemed “feminine,” Tan began expressing himself through clothes at a very young age—even learning to make them himself. “I could sew something at the age of 8 or 9. I wanted a black silk shirt with gold buttons—very Ricky Martin before Ricky Martin. I was told time and time again, ‘We will not get you the silk you want because only girls wear that kind of shirt!’”
Not surprisingly, he went on to have a robust career in fashion, with some unexpected turns, including several years spent running multiple modest clothing brands in Salt Lake City, Utah. He goes into the highs and lows of it all during his candid conversation with Noor. He even dishes on his latest fashion-related endeavor: Dressing Funny, out now on Netflix.
New episodes of The Barneys Podcast come out every Wednesday. It is produced by Noor Tagouri, Transmitter Media, and Barneys New York. You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or anywhere you get your podcasts.