Tan France chats with PEOPLE about preparing to become a dad while promoting his new "Stir It Up" campaign for Starbucks

By Katie Campione
June 02, 2021 11:17 AM
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Tan France's life is about to look a little different!

After 13 years together, the Queer Eye star, 38, and his husband Rob are preparing to welcome their first child via surrogate this summer. While he's always known he wanted to have children someday, France is still preparing for the major changes that come along with becoming a dad.

"Surrogacy was the right choice for us," France tells PEOPLE while promoting his new "Stir It Up" campaign with Starbucks. "And we wanted to have a donor who we felt was a perfect match for what we wanted our child to be, and what we want for our future and their future."

After "quite a laborious process," he and Rob were able to find both a donor and a gestational surrogate who they adored.

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tan france
Credit: Scott McDermott/Starbucks
tan france
Credit: Scott McDermott/Starbucks

While the decision to choose surrogacy was an easy one, the fashion expert shares that the process was not as simple.

"The person that we have carrying our baby is somebody that is wonderful, and we know that she will take care of our baby beautifully," he says. "We see it as, kind of, she's a nanny for our baby before our baby is born, and she's incredible."

He continues, "As far as the donor was concerned, that was a more complicated process, but we really wanted to make sure that the person that we were working with was kind and was going to have the kind of traits that we were looking for in the world [and] that we look for in each other."

With so much shifting in his life already, France says now was an opportune time to partner with Starbucks as the company aims to give caffeine lovers a way to spice up their daily routine with its new premium instant coffee.

After over a year spent at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, "people are changing things up more than ever," he says. "So this [campaign] seemed perfect for me."

Simple adjustments such as a new coffee recipe, a different alarm ringtone, or more put-together work-from-home attire can make a huge difference in one's daily regimen, France explains.

"I think a lot of people were feeling quite blue and down for over a year. And so anything I could do to make myself feel better, I do," he says, adding, "The thing that I that I need to make myself feel better is to look like myself."

After announcing his baby news, France returned to Austin, Texas, to finish filming season 6 of Queer Eye as production was shut down last year. He tells PEOPLE that he let the rest of the Fab Five in on the secret shortly before sharing it with the world.

"I FaceTimed Jonathan [about the baby] first, because if I didn't Jonathan would be pissed," he jokes. "It went really well. When he was done with the congratulations, his next question was, 'Well what about me Tanny?' I made it clear he will always be my first child."

The past year has been a mix of emotions, the fashion designer says. While working remotely allowed him and Rob to focus on expanding their family, COVID guidelines also made the process more strenuous.

The pair struggled with "not being able to see our surrogate as often as we'd like to" and they were unable to attend doctor's visits with her. "We've been able to zoom in, but that's the hardest part for sure."

Still, he adds: "There wasn't a time [before the pandemic] when I could have taken weeks and weeks off to go through this difficult process. Last year, we were in a position to be able to do so and we couldn't be more grateful for it."