By Erin Lukas
Updated Jun 05, 2019 @ 11:30 am
Tan France
Credit: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

Queer Eye's Tan France helps the show's heroes build new wardrobes to get their confidence back. However, the star wasn't always comfortable in his own skin.

In his new memoir Naturally Tan, France reveals that he used to use skin-bleaching products that he stole from his cousin beginning when he was 10.

"I haven't had the balls to tell her I took it, because, since then, I've been ashamed of the fact that I succumbed to the pressure," he writes in an excerpt via Refinery 29. "I kept the dirty little secret to myself. I'd only use it at night, before bed, when no one else was going to catch me. Let me tell you, that s--t hurt."

He goes on to explain why he started using these products. "The importance of being pale is very bizarre. When I was five, I remember thinking, 'God, I'd give anything to be white. I just want to be white, I want to be white, I want to be white.' I had been so conditioned to think that if you were white, you were automatically more attractive."

France also reveals that his desire to have paler skin became an obsession. "I worried constantly that if I went outside the house, bad things would happen to me," he shares.

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Today, France is proud of who he is, which shines through in his personal style, which includes everything from suits to knee-high Pikachu boots.

"If you ask me what my favorite thing about my appearance is, I'll say my skin," he writes in his memoir. "I think my skin color is beautiful. As a 10-year-old, I could never have imagined that you could find my skin color beautiful, and I'm willing to bet most non-white people have thought the same thing."