At 5 foot 5 and wearing a size 22 Tess Holliday may not be the stereotypical model but she has been making headlines as the first plus-size supermodel and has been pioneering the body confidence movement with her viral #effyourbeautystandards campaign
Who Is Tess Holliday?
Tess Holliday (real name Ryann Hoven) has a real rags to riches story; growing up on a trailer park in Laurel, Mississippi, being bullied at school and even having to cope with her mother being paralysed after being shot by her boyfriend. Tess “estimates that the family moved around 60 times in a handful of years.” during her nomadic childhood which may have led to her being ‘socially isolated’ at school where she was also bullied for her size.
Tess Holliday jokes that she “wanted to become a model out of delusion. There just weren’t any Petite models over a certain size and Tess believed that she could change this. It didn’t get off to the best of starts though as at her first modelling audition in Atlanta when Tess was 15 she was told that she was “too short and big” and would be “lucky to even do catalogue work.”
Despite setbacks, Tess didn’t give up her dream, moving from Seattle and then later to L.A. to focus on her modelling career whilst juggling being a new mother. Her first big break came when she was cast in the A+E show HEAVY were she was discovered on modelmanagement.com.
Social media has played a huge part in Tess’ success. Tess Holliday was ‘discovered’ by UK based MiLK Model Management through Instagram. Leading to major campaigns with Yours clothing and Simply Be as well as People magazine and Vogue Italia.
In 2015 she helped launch the ‘plus size’ clothing range at Target and is a positive role model for body image. By encouraging people to embrace their figures and not to judge people solely on body shape and size.
Tess Holliday is a strong role model, who takes criticism on the cheek and hits back with humour.
Effyourbeautystandards was launched because Tess was tired of being told what she could and couldn’t wear by the media. It is a supportive community that is all about positive body image and boosting self-confidence.
To the haters, Tess has this to say: “People put their fears on others. Just because you’re afraid of being fat, don’t put that on me. I’m not recruiting people to be fat. I’m just existing in this body and I’ve found a way to love it.” Amen to that sister.
At the time of writing, Tess Holliday has 1.5 million followers on Instagram and 1.73 million likes on Facebook.