Queer Eye star Tan France’s upcoming Netflix show, Next in Fashion, is about style, but he says audiences shouldn’t expect another Project Runway.
“When you have a show that started out a certain kind of genre, I think, subsequent shows will always be compared to the original. And I’m fine with that,” France tells Yahoo Entertainment. “But I’m looking forward to people seeing it and realizing just how different it is. And it starts with the tone. The tone is so different from Project Runway. With Project Runway, there’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff. There’s a lot of drama between the contestants. Ours isn’t about that. We’re not — same with Queer Eye, I wouldn’t get involved with a show that is about the drama of it — I want just the beauty of the craft.”
Audiences also will see the partnership of France and his co-host Alexa Chung, who he said got along so well that they could be a comedy duo, they’re so “incredibly playful.”
While that show isn’t scheduled to premiere until 2020, France will be back on TV much sooner. Queer Eye, the makeover show he stars in with Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski returns with its fourth season premiere on July 19, and it’s pretty delightful as well. The audience gets to see the five experts in their respective categories — fashion, grooming, culture, home, and food and wine — and their heroes, a different person in each episode, forge a genuine connection as they work together on making the heroes’ life better. It can be quite touching seeing the people from various backgrounds interact so lovingly at a time when there’s so much divisiveness.
“It’s not necessarily that you have a bad experience, but some of them are sometimes a lot more close-minded or haven’t had experience with the LGBTQ community or sometimes even with people of color,” France says, “and so the way I go about it is by being open with them, telling them who I am, what I represent, and giving them permission to ask whatever questions that they want; not being disrespectful but asking the questions that may be causing them slight concern or may have gotten them to the point where they may not have wanted to understand everything that I might represent.”
The five Queer Eye stars ask questions, too, so everyone can find common ground.
“And so we create a very open communication, open dialogue with our heroes, which is why I think you see on the show that everybody is so lovely and kind and warm and welcoming,” France says.
Now France is asking others to be kind, too, by donating their gently used professional clothes, through the end of the month, to the Men’s Wearhouse Suit Drive, so they can be redistributed to men and women re-entering the workforce. Donors will receive a 50 percent discount on select items and an extra 30 percent off select clearance items.
“When they asked me to do it again, it was the easiest yes because what I do on Queer Eye is basically an extension of what Men’s Wearhouse is doing with the suit drive,” France says. “They’re encouraging people to dress a certain way, to make an effort to get the job that they want, to get the life that they want.”
So, yes, France is definitely kind, but, as audience are getting to see on yet another of his shows, Netflix’s social series Dressing Funny, in which he dresses comedians, he can be, in his own words, “quite vulgar.”
“I’m actually more of myself in Dressing Funny, just because Queer Eye is a PG show, like it’s meant to be a family show, and I’m definitely not that when I speak I swear. I’m really quite vulgar,” France says. “I know they’ve positioned me on Queer Eye as the classy one, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
France recently turned up in yet another place: Taylor Swift’s star-studded “You Need to Calm Down” video. While audiences seemed to enjoy the cameos in the clip, critics accused Swift of using LGBTQ people as props.
“All I’ll say is this: I think that anyone who’s willing to be an ally and to promote equality and especially the Equality Act, I will happily accept,” he says. “I think that just because somebody hasn’t used their voice over the last few decades, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t now. And, I think it’s ultimately close-minded to assume that just because she’s now put out this song, that it’s because it’s of-the-moment. I couldn’t disagree more.”
For now, see France in action on the new season of Queer Eye on July 19.
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