Plus-sized Tess Holliday breaks stereotype

[Image courtesy of]

By Bryce Spadafora

American model Tess Munster, also known as Tess Holliday, has agreed to a contract with London-based agency MiLK Model Management. Standing at 5 feet 5 inches and having a dress size of 22, Holliday became the first model of her size to sign with a major modeling agency.

This departure from the rigid beauty standards that have ruled the fashion industry led to body positivity across the Internet. Holliday’s Instagram account, “effyourbeautystandards,” which was started in 2013 as Holliday’s way of encouraging women to be comfortable in their own skin, has gained popularity as a result. The account went on to inspire the hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards allowing women worldwide to share what makes them beautiful.


[Image courtesy of]

Despite her positivity, Holliday’s journey hasn’t been easy. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Holliday described a troubled childhood. Growing up in Southern Mississippi, other children bullied Holliday because of her size. Years later, at an audition in Atlanta, she was told her weight and height would always keep her from signing with an agency.

“I understand not everyone understands what I’m about. But to me it’s such a simple concept. It’s all about loving your body regardless of your size and chasing your dreams,” Holliday said.

It wasn’t until 2011 that Holliday secured her first job. The A&E network cast her as the face of the reality show Heavy- a program that chronicled the lives of people struggling with obesity.

The body shaming didn’t stop after her rise to fame. To this day, Holliday receives messages from strangers criticizing her appearance.

“Everybody deserves to be happy, but for some reason the fact that I happen to be plus size and happy seems to bother people,” she said. “It’s odd really.”

When asked to comment on her success, Holliday said, “It doesn’t feel like it’s me. Every time I have a big thing happen in my career, it’s an out of body experience. I’m always still that 13-year-old girl in Mississippi who people told I wasn’t good enough. I never could have imagined that I could be here.”


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