Plus-Size Model Tess Holliday Just Spoke the Truth to Her Critics

July 16th 2015

Tess Holliday, born Ryann Hoven, is the first U.K. size 24 plus model to sign on with the modeling agency Milk Model Management. In spite of Holliday's body positive achievement, she's faced some serious scrutiny from critics who don't think there's room for plus-size women like her in modeling -- and she's speaking out.

"Making fun of my body will never make you a better person," she wrote on Instagram two weeks ago. "It will never fix the void you feel within yourself, & the issues you have when you look in the mirror. The real issue isn't that I'm fat, or my size, it's that you are scared of seeing someone that is happy AND fat. I don't need to be 'fixed' because I'm not the broken one. History has proven that hate is never the answer .. Close your mouth & open your heart."

Holliday both shoots down her haters, reminding them that their harassment truly stems from their own internal struggles, and also acknowledges that she isn't your stereotypical model.

She also challenges the notion that only tiny women can get away with wearing crop tops:

Being labeled as fat isn't the end of the world for her either, as the online pro-body positive community has her back.

"To me [fat is] just a word, but it wasn’t until I discovered the body positive community that I became OK with it," she has said before. "I’ve been called fat my whole life. I am fat, so it’s kind of silly to get mad about it."

Holliday is also happily married to a man she met online. Though she was initially concerned her looks wouldn't meet his expectations, she knew she deserved someone who would love her for her true self. And he does.

"I was like, this guy’s never going to give me a chance in hell because he’s so hot," she has said. "Because I’ve never really had good-looking boyfriends before. My friends would always tell me, ‘There’s no way you’re going to get a nice guy and a hot guy – you’re fat, you need to settle for one or the other.’ I told them, I deserve both."

The fashion industry as a whole appears to be becoming more and more accepting of different body types and appearances. On Wednesday, ATTN: wrote about American Eagle's lingerie line Aerie, which has a successful ongoing #AerieREAL campaign that features non-airbrushed images and eschews the supermodel look. Since Aerie's made this move in January 2014, consumers have responded positively. A conference call last year revealed that sales climbed nearly 10 percent following Aerie's decision to stop using retouched images in ads:


Jenny Altman, who came on as the brand's Style and Fit Expert last year, said in a Good Morning America interview that the company decided not to airbrush tattoos and beauty marks out of photos.

"What you really see is what you get with our campaign," she explained.

Consumers continue to love this campaign as well:

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