The Biggest Plus-Size Model To Get A Major Contract Created The #EffYourBeautyStandards Movement
Model Tess Holliday wants to prove that every body is beautiful.
Meet Tess Holliday, a size 22 model who is the first of her size and height to be signed to a major agency.
At 5-foot-5, Holliday, real name Tess Munster, doesn't fit into the mold of traditional plus-size models, who might typically be a few inches taller and be between sizes 8 and 16.
"I think we're the only agency with a model of her size. She is by far the largest model I have in the [Curves] division," said Anna Shillinglaw, the owner and director of MiLk Model Management, the agency that signed Holliday after seeing her on Instagram, to the Daily News.
After traveling to Atlanta for a casting session as a teen, Holliday was told she was too short and too heavyset to ever succeed as a model.
Holliday, who works out with a trainer four days a week, said that people try particularly hard to bring her down because of her body type.
"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."
Relentless bullying as a child forced Holliday, who was born in Mississippi, to leave school at 17. Today, she told the Huffington Post she still receives up to hundreds of negative comments a day.
"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," she said.
And thanks in part to her insistence that every body is a beautiful body, #EffYourBeautyStandards has taken off online.
Despite her success and inspiring hordes of women, Holliday said she's still amazed by everything she's accomplished.
"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," she said. "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."
But the blogger and body-positive activist wants women to love themselves no matter what, telling them:
Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people who support you. It's crucial to your happiness and well-being. Never compare yourself to others and celebrate what makes you, YOU.