Tess Holliday : A Plus Size Diva

The internet is a strange paradox in itself. Like any two-sided coin, the internet has many merits like it has demerits. It has made the world smaller but it has also increased the distance between people. In the world of fashion too, the internet has both a negative as well as a positive impact.

With the increasing popularity of social media, more women are being bombarded with images of size zero models, advertisements for weight loss programs, slimming pills, and herbal teas.

This creates a negative image in the minds of the viewers and makes them feel bad about themselves. This has been the tone of the fashion industry for many years.

Plus Size Tess Holliday

The internet has also given women a platform to raise their concerns. With numerous channels to reach the industry and designers, many women have voiced their displeasure with the way women are portrayed in the media and all the ways in which it is degrading the mental and physical health of many young women all over the world.

The increasing pressure to look good for pictures on social media and the constant comparison of body shapes and figures with supermodels has to lead to an increase in the number of reported cases of bulimia and it has also led to the rise in unhealthy eating habits in women.



This is why many stars, activists, and celebrities have spoken up about this issue. There are many plus size models that are being incorporated into the world of fashion. More plus size models are also featuring on the cover of fashion magazines. One of these models is Tess Holliday.

Tess Holliday was named Ryann Maegan Hoven when she was born. She was born on the fifth of July 1985 in the small town of Laurel, Mississippi. She was formerly called Tess Munster.

Tess Holliday Model

Tess had a turbulent early life. Her parents had separated when she was much younger, but in the year 1995, her mother’s fiancé shot her mother in the head. Her mother suffered from two brutal gunshot wounds to her head and at the tender age of ten, Tess Holliday and her brother were sent to live with her grandparents as the accused was charged with attempted murder.

Tess faced a lot of troubles from here on after. She was constantly bullied in school because of her pale skin and her weight. She was also teased because her mother was disabled and because she lived in a trailer behind her grandparents’ house. This constant bullying and teasing led Tess to quit school at the age of 17 when she received a death threat. She did not give up on her career and education though, Tess holliday is a strong plus size model who got her GED later on.




Tess has not had it easy in any way. She was also allegedly abused by her father about her weight and her mother supported her through this ordeal. Tess has cut ties from her father since 2013.

Tess Holliday first ventured into the world of fashion at the age of 15. She auditioned for a company that was looking for plus size models in Atlanta, Georgia. Tess was rejected and told that her short stature and size were the reasons for her rejection.

Tess Holliday Plus Size Bikini

Tess later reallocated to Georgia where she stayed for two years and worked as a makeup artist to sustain herself. She went on to become a head make-up artist, hairstylist, and even creative director at fashion shows that were held there. Two years later, Tess decided to move back to Mississippi for the birth of her first child. In the year 2005, her first child was born at the age of 20.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Tess had to move to Seattle where she landed a gig as a plus size model doing shoots for a Model Mayhem. She moved to Los Angeles permanently in 2010. These frequent shifts are not new to her as her family moved a lot even when she was a child and she claims to have moved ten times before the age of four.

Tess had still not solidified her spot as a plus size model. It is in Los Angeles that she gained more confidence while she was working at a dentist’s office. She responded to a ‘House of Dream Models’ search that was conducted by Torrid and got selected to be a plus size model for the brand through this contest. Tess had a miraculous breakthrough being one of the prettiest plus size models available, she was able to become the face of a TV series called Heavy which was produced by A&E at that time.

Soon Tess climbed up the ladder of fame and became the face for plus size ventures be it commercials or print media. Within three years of being discovered, she was giving tough competition to all other plus size models and stole the show by doing many runaway shows for brands like Benefit cosmetics, David LaChapelle and Torrid.

Tess Holliday Plus Size Clothing

Tess Holliday became an international sensation when an online blog called Vimeo posted a video of Tess holliday and a few other plus size models and influencers where they were lip-syncing with the song “Flawless” by Beyoncé. The video became viral overnight and was shared with the hashtag #everyBODYisbeautiful. This was a major part of the self-love and body positivity movement that had started taking shape in the year 2013 when this video released.

Holliday has graced the covers of many famous fashion magazines that include the likes of Vogue Italia, Gracia, and Nylon magazine. She made headlines in 2015 when she Milk Modelling agency declared that she was the biggest and shortest woman to be declared a plus size model in the mainstream industry.



Tess has been very vocal about the cyberbullying and fat-shaming that she has faced. There are many instances where she was told she looks ugly or needs to lose weight. Tess does believe this is the hardest part about being in the public eye. The public scrutiny of her body hasn’t stopped since she became famous in 2012.

She strongly stands for the idea that every person who looks fat isn’t and that there is nothing wrong with being a little overweight as long as you are taking good care of their health. She believes exercise and diet determine how healthy she is, not her physique.

Tess Holliday Vogue

Tess Holliday was the first model over the size eighteen who featured in the campaign for Monif Clarke. This was a big achievement for her which was followed by her becoming the face of Yours clothing. In 2015, she also starred in H&M’s sustainable fashion campaign alongside singer Iggy Pop, artist Daniel Lismore, Karley Sciortino along with blogger Pardeep Singh Bahra. Not only this, she also stared in Elle’s fall 2015 capsule collection campaign. Tess Holliday is one of the few plus size models who have shot for Marie Claire UK.




In 2016, Penningtons, which is a Canadian plus size label teamed with Tess to create a capsule collection with her name on the tag alongside the brand’s logo. Tess is in the process of designing her own clothing line and this will add another feather in her hat. Tess holliday started slow, rose to the top, and has never looked back since.

This is a stand not many people are willing to come forward with. Her work is extraordinary and she is refreshing to look at. She has come a long way from being a makeup artist to be the face of many movements and brands, truly solidifying her place in this industry.

Tess Holliday

There are not many plus size models who look like Tess, this makes her stand out. She has taken a stand for natural beauty and does post many photos without any retouching and editing. Being a mother, she understands the need to send the right message to the youth and wishes that the next generation of plus size models do not have to undergo the public scrutiny she did.

She dreams of a world where everyone is able to accept their flaws and feels positive and confident when they pose for the camera or even go out. She believes the message she stands for and has been unapologetic about her size despite being the largest and shortest plus size model.

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