Who Is Tan France?
When Tan joined the cast of the new Queer Eye in 2018, he became one of the most visible representations (if not the only representation) of a gay Muslim British-Pakistani immigrant on international television.
As the show’s style expert, Tan helps the subject of each episode discover their personal style and find clothes that are both fashionable and expressive of their unique selves. He has also greatly popularised the “French tuck”, which is a way of tucking in the front of a shirt into the bottoms while leaving the sides casually (but artfully) untucked.
Tan France was born and raised in the majority-white English town of Doncaster, England into a traditional Muslim Pakistani family. His grandparents owned a factory that made clothes for Disney which sparked his interest in fashion at a very early age. He later went on to study fashion design in college and moved to London.
The style expert worked for retail giants Zara, Selfridges, and Chanel to learn the ins and out of the fashion business. He used this knowledge to rise in the ranks, start his own clothing line, and of course land a spot in the coveted Fab Five.
France, whose birth name was Tanween Safdar, moved from the UK to the United States in 2008. Just a year earlier, he married his life partner (and current husband) Rob France, taking on his last name in the process.
Just this year, he released a memoir entitled Naturally Tan. He also appeared in Taylor Swift’s LGBT-themed music video for her single “You Need To Calm Down”, along with the rest of the Fab Five and other queer icons.
Who Is Rob France?
Rob France may not be on a hit Netflix show, but he’s a talented artist and interesting personality in his own right. Tan France’s husband is a self-taught freelance illustrator who sells his unique, original pieces online. He specialises in portraits and figure illustrations.
France was born in Wyoming to conservative Mormon parents (Tan himself has described Rob as “the love of his life – a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City”). While today he enjoys a career in the arts, Rob didn’t start out as an illustrator. In a 2015 interview, he mentioned that he was actually a pediatric nurse who dabbled in arts on the side.
Mr And Mr France: The Relationship Between Rob And Tan
Tan and Rob actually met on a dating site in 2008, and they immediately hit it off. Interestingly enough, their “clashing” religious beliefs weren’t an issue at all. In fact, Tan has said that having similar conservative backgrounds actually brought them closer together.
In an interview with the New York Post, France shared, “It made it easier to date somebody who had similarities to me. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke. We practice some of our religions’ practices. We don’t practice them all. We practice what works for us.”
It didn’t take long for Tan to realise that Rob was probably the one. He had been living in New York but fell in love with Salt Lake City (where Rob lived). Meeting his “perfect guy” was just the push he needed to make the move.
Shortly after, the future Frances got engaged, but it wasn’t the picture-perfect, storybook romance you might expect from the Queer Eye star.
“You know there wasn’t an actual proposal. It was a case of, ‘we're going to get married one day, right?’ ‘Yeah of course we are.’ We just had agreed it was going to happen one day and then we arranged the date,” Tan explained on an episode of the Netflix show.
The two have been happily married for over a decade, and there are plans to grow the family. In another episode of Queer Eye, Tan talked about using a surrogate to have children. Tan has also said that he wants at least four kids minimum, ideally six.
While it’s great that Rob and Tan have found a love that will last a lifetime, their relationship is important on a much larger scale. Seeing successful queer partnerships shows the world that LGBTQ+ relationships are just like any other, and therefore should be treated with the same respect. Cheers to the happy couple, and here’s to more seasons of Queer Eye!