WorkParty Live with Tan France

The man. The myth. The absolute style legend. When we learned the inimitable Tan France would be the guest on our live taping of the WorkParty Podcast at our Austin popup, we all lost it a little bit (OK, maybe a lot). And duh—Tan totally delivered. Below, we’re sharing some showstopping moments from his interview. You can listen to the full episode here!

On being a business owner:

“Those first couple of years of business ownership are hellacious. I thought I was going to be broke for the rest of my life, but after a couple of years, I realized if I really stuck with it, I could really make it.”

On women at work:

“Every one of my employees is women, and it’s not because I’m prejudiced against men. But men get enough opportunities—let’s diversify.”

“I have this thing I do on the first day called ‘How Not To Be A B*tch At Work.’ If you’re the person bitching about people at the office, they’re not going to get fired—I’m going to fire you. I’m here to work. You’re here to work. We’re not in competition with each other. Work your ass off—that’s how you get promoted.”

“Men are busy trying to bring women down enough—you don’t need to be the reason you’re brought down. Be each other’s wing women.”

“Surround yourself with women who are encouraging positivity. We all know those bad apples in the group—cut her out. I’m a big fan of phasing negative people out of my life. If they’re not encouraging you to be a better person, get them out.”

On being one of the first openly gay South Asian men on television:

“There’s so much pressure when you’re the first at something because people see you as the voice of that community. I’m really jealous of Antoni, Jonathan, and Bobby because they just speak as themselves. I speak as every brown person, Muslim, immigrant, gay person... That pressure is insane. I’m hoping that the tides are turning. Companies like Netflix are encouraging diversity more than ever, and I’m hoping that continues. I don’t want to be the only one.”

On what we can expect in season 3 of Queer Eye:

“These stories from these women are so powerful. You’ll binge the whole season in a day.”

“We have what we call a talent wrangler, which are usually only on kids’ shows or shows with a lot of animals. We have one, and we’re between 32 and 40 years old, because all you hear all day on set is, ‘Everyone, focus on the damn camera!’”

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On the cutthroat world of fashion:

“I see fashion for what it is: entertainment. I don’t expect to look like people on the runway. I don’t expect to buy what I see on the runway. I treat fashion and style truly as mutually exclusive. Yes, I love a hot trend, but I’ll buy a more accessible version of a high-fashion trend.”

“I’m in a very privileged position now where I do see these people who make a fortune and are dripping in designer sh*t. They look terrible. I spent $150 on my look and look better than that! My point is: Don’t be a slave to fashion. Approach style in a way that works for you.”

On the French tuck:

“I use all the tricks I can to make myself seem taller. When I tuck my T-shirt in a bit, it elongates my body.”

On what to wear to an interview:

“Find out what the culture is at the office. Find out what more senior people at the office are wearing, and wear something similar. But find a way to make your outfit ‘you.’ I know you want to fit in at work, but that doesn’t mean you have to take away elements that truly make you who you are. Find little ways of doing it that aren’t disrespectful to the business.”

On hiring a team:

“The last thing you need when you’re first starting your business is a massive payroll bill. If you’re wondering, ‘Hey Tan, how did you retire at 33?’ That’s how—I didn’t hire a massive team of people. I know you want to feel like a boss, but you end up paying a fortune. You’re not above anything. Learn it all.”

“Keep your payroll tight. Get freelancers. Get consultants. You don’t need full-time employees when you first get started. That’s insane.”


LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE OF WORKPARTY HERE.

PodcastTyeal Howell