Which is why the revelation that Tan bleached his skin as a child is completely devastating.
In his new memoir, Tan revealed that he stole his cousin’s bleaching cream and tried to lighten his skin at only 10 years old.
“The importance of being pale is very bizarre. The people around me certainly didn’t intend to pass on this belief, but I was aware of it and affected by it just the same,” he wrote.
“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.”
Tan grew up in England as the son of Pakistani parents and he never told his family that he stole the cream and tried to alter his skin colour because he was embarrassed.
“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,” Tan said. “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.”
These days, Tan's favourite quality about himself is his beautiful skin.
“If you ask me what my favourite thing about my appearance is, I’ll say my skin,” he wrote. “I think my skin colour is beautiful. As a ten-year-old, I could never have imagined that you could find my skin colour beautiful, and I’m willing to bet most nonwhite people have thought the same thing.”
We love you, Tanny!