Tess Holliday Just Nailed the Problem With Victoria's Secret

December 22nd 2015

Plus-size model Tess Holliday called out Victoria's Secret's unrealistic body image standards in a new interview with "I Yahoo’d Myself" host Nick Axelrod.

Holliday, who was the first size 22 model to sign with a major agency, talked to Axelrod about the highly-publicized MTV article, she criticized the major underwear purveyor — adding that she doubted that the lingerie brand even cared about her feedback.

“They probably didn’t look up from their glitter and angel body spray–or money!” she said with a laugh.

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Axelrod pointed out that it's difficult to find a Victoria's Secret bra without padding and that this can send the message that a woman's boobs can never be big enough.

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"They are kind of perpetuating the image of what's wrong with America and with society, in general, that you have to look a certain way — like a Victoria’s Secret Angel — to feel beautiful and be sexy," Holliday said.

Holliday, who has a plus-size clothing line in the works, also had a strong response to critics, who say she perpetuates an unhealthy lifestyle by being heavy.

“Obviously someone doesn’t wake up fat," she said. "I know that I am fat, but people completely miss the point of me trying to educate women and show them that it’s ok to be who you are and love yourself and still live your life and not be miserable."

In September, Holliday told MTV News that she felt alienated by Victoria's Secret growing up because she could never fit into any of their clothes. She added that the workers also made her feel unwelcome.

"Growing up in Mississippi, I definitely remember Victoria’s Secret being a huge part of my teenage mall experience, but I couldn’t really fit into any of the underwear. I was always pretty busty, and they didn’t have a band size big enough for me to wear their bras. To be honest, every time I walk into a Victoria’s Secret, they look at me like, 'You are clearly in the wrong store.' I’ve been to Victoria’s Secret stores all across the country—and even one internationally—but they’ve never offered to help me."

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Holliday also pointed out that Victoria's Secret is missing out on monetary gains by alienating plus-size women. After all, the market for plus-size women's clothing was worth $9 billion in 2014, according to a report from IBIS World. But Holliday said it's not just about the lost financial opportunity.

"There's a certain image that Victoria's Secret upholds for this 'perfect body,' and if they were to branch out and have plus-size women, it might — in their eyes — ruin that business and branding goal," she continued. "But I think to have the biggest lingerie retailer in the world carry plus-size lingerie would be a huge step in the right direction and an accomplishment, not just for the industry, but for women in general."

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Last year, Victoria's Secret faced criticism for its "Perfect Body" campaign that seemed to favor thin body types:

Following backlash, the company changed its campaign name to "A Body For Every Body" using the same photo:

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