Tan France wanted to turn down Queer Eye role due to pressure of representation
Queer Eye star Tan France has said he wanted to turn down his role in the hit Netflix show because of the pressure of being the first openly gay Muslim on western television.
The British designer, who is from Doncaster, has become famous around the world for his job as the fashion consultant on the makeover show but admitted he was only convinced to do it by his American husband.
He told the Press Association: “When I was first offered the show there was a time when I thought I was actually going to say ‘I don’t want to do it’ before we started filming because I felt so much pressure.
“When I speak, I don’t speak for myself, I don’t have the luxury of a Caucasian to be able to speak for myself.
“I speak for a whole community and I represent so many different communities that that felt like a lot of pressure.
“But my husband is wonderful and he reminded me that if it’s not me, who? If it’s not now, then when?
“And so I feel like it’s perfectly appropriate that we now have representation and that I am that person.”
The show, which will return for a second series this week, has not shied away from politics, addressing issues such as Black Lives Matter, police brutality and featuring a Trump voter as one of its subjects.
However, interiors expert Bobby Berk said that was not part of the plan.
He said: “In all honesty we weren’t expecting to do this.
“Our plan wasn’t to go in there and make a political show, but when we got down there (the show is filmed in Atlanta, Georgia) we realised, especially in the political climate that we’re in right now – everything is so polarised, you’re on the far left or the far right and nobody is in the middle anymore – we really just wanted to bring people in the middle and remind people that you can’t define others by their vote or their political affiliation.
“At the end of the day we’re all just human and we really do have a whole lot more in common than we’ve remembered.”
France added: “I believe that our show is hopefully a beacon of hope for certain people who think that they have been forgotten, that they don’t have the support or representation.
“We’re there for them and also to remind people that even though we are so divided, just a very open conversation can bridge that divide.”
Series two of Queer Eye streams on Netflix on June 15.