Tess Holliday is an American model, blogger, and make-up artist based in Los Angeles. She also describes herself as a “body positivity activist.”
Early life for Holliday was tough — she claims to have moved house 40 times before she turned 10 years old and her mother was paralyzed and disabled after being shot twice in the head by her fiance. She says that the trauma from this spurned her tendencies as an emotional eater.
She experienced bullying throughout her school life for her weight, disabled mother and because they lived in a trailer behind her grandparent’s house and decided to leave school on the first day of the 11th grade following death threats.
At 15, 5 ft 3 inches tall and a US size 16, she auditioned at a casting call for plus-sized models in Atlanta, Georgia but was told she would be lucky to get any work because she was too short and too big. So, she pursued a career as a make-up artist and later, started to post amateur modelling photo’s on Instagram and grew a large and loyal fan-base.
Fast forward and Tess is an established plus-sized model signed to Milk Model Management’s plus-size division. Milk declared that Holliday had become the largest plus-size model of her size and height to be signed to a mainstream modelling agency, and the first Curve model above a size 20. She regularly appears on magazine covers and TV shows discussing issues around changing beauty standards and discusses the fast-growing plus-size fashion industry.
As a “body positive activist,” she embraces the word ‘fat’ and believes that people should be able to eat as much and whatever they want without being shamed. Back in 2013, she started her viral campaign, #effyourbeautystandards on Instagram aiming to show women of all sizes that it is okay to love your body and that size should not dictate their fashion choices.
In October 2018, now considered as a plus-size supermodel, Tess graced the cover of UK Cosmopolitan. The cover was hailed as extremely “important” by some, while others such as Piers Morgan, expressed outrage for glamorizing being overweight saying, “stop lying to yourself Tess — your morbidly obese and it is going to kill you.”
She responded by saying, My message isn’t, ‘Let’s all be fat!’. My message is, ‘Let’s love yourself, regardless of how you look in your current body.’Tags: Body Positivity