First impressions aren’t always lasting impressions! When Tan France first met his Queer Eye castmate Jonathan Van Ness, he struggled to picture them working well together.
“Jonathan Van Ness is the most unique person I’ve ever met in my life,” the Naturally Tan author, 36, told Us Weekly exclusively on Tuesday, June 4. “He’s nothing like anyone you will ever meet. He’s so loud. He’s so loving and lovable, but because he’s so open, I was surprised by it.”
France explained that Van Ness, 32, was the first person he had ever come across who wanted to tell him their whole life story, no holds barred, “within a heartbeat of meeting” him.
“Usually it takes me months to open up to a person and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on in the bedroom,’” the designer told Us about the grooming expert’s hankering to tell him about personal things, including the details of his sex life. “I definitely don’t tell a complete stranger. He is not that person.”
As a result, France was initially hesitant about befriending Van Ness. “I thought, ‘Gosh, I don’t think we’re ever going to be friends. He’s so loud,’” he confessed to Us. “And then we both got the job. I was like, ‘Oh gosh, I’m going to have to find a way to find a connection with him.’”
Fortunately, the two ended up getting along well. “It was so easy,” the Salt Lake City resident recalled. “Within a heartbeat, he was one of my favorite people on the planet. He is actually wonderful.”
Immediately after auditions, Bobby Berk started a group text for the future cast of the Netflix series, which is a reboot of Bravo’s mid-aughts hit Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, so that they could stay in touch.
“Bobby created this text thread, thinking, ‘Even if we don’t get this show, we’re probably still going to be friends because we’ve been through so much and we really liked each other,’” France told Us. “So yeah, even if we didn’t have Queer Eye, I’m positive we would still be friends.”
Or at least most of them. During season 1, there was an offscreen conflict between Karamo Brown and Antoni Porowski, which the culture expert, 38, detailed in his recently released book, Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope.
Through it all, Brown and the food and wine expert, 35, remained professional in front of the cameras. “It didn’t, thankfully, affect the group at all,” France told Us. “You would never know.”
Naturally Tan, which chronicles France’s journey from being raised in a religious home to becoming the first openly gay, South Asian man on TV, is now available online and in bookstores.
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With reporting by Marc Lupo
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