Tess Holliday Hopes Wow-Factor Shoot Will Help Brits Embrace Plus-Size Fashion

[Photo: Instagram/Tess Holliday via Marie Claire UK]

A UK size 26, Tess Holliday isn’t your average model. But she’s an inspiring one and someone that’s giving the fashion industry a much-needed reality check.  

Since landing a contract with Milk Model Management, the 30-year-old plus-size model has fronted numerous campaigns, become an Instagram sensation and landed plenty of magazine shoots – the latest of which features in the December issue of Marie Claire UK.

In the high-fashion shoot, the US star proves that a woman’s size has nothing to do with how beautiful she is. Dressed in a custom William Wilde dress and rainbow-bright eyeshadow she looks cool and confident and just as fabulous as any size 6 model.

It’s quite a leap for a UK magazine to feature a plus-size star and Holliday says she hopes the shoot will help Britain become more accepting of plus-size clothing and models here in the UK.

“You guys need this. The States are more accommodating to fat people - there are more plus-sized clothing labels, and people talk openly about it,” says Holliday.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of people who criticise me are from the UK - both in the press and on social media. Since I’ve been here, I’ve gotten a lot of stares on the street, but in the States, people always come up to me and say, ‘I love your hair’ or ‘I love your dress, you’re so cute’.

“Here, people just look at me like I’m a crazy person.”

[Photo: Instagram/Tess Holliday via Marie Claire UK]

But despite the acceptance in the US, Holliday hasn’t had an easy journey to fame. She says that people think plus-size people are “disgusting” and automatically assume they don’t do anything.

“They automatically think we’re lazy, when I work hard and I’m constantly on my feet,” says the mum-of-one.

Holliday may appear to ooze confidence but the star says she does, on occasion, feel insecure.

“I do have moments, like for this shoot, when I get ready and feel self-conscious. I’ve got this really tight dress on, and my stomach’s not flat - clearly. I’m a normal person, but people see me as this person who’s not really real, almost like I don’t have feelings. They think they can treat me any way they want to.”

Holliday posted this photo along with a caption explaining why we need to embrace plus-size women more. [Photo: Instagram/Tess Holliday]

The model may be doing great things for the fashion industry and giving it the shake-up it so badly needs, but there’s still a long way to go. She’s calling out the industry for a lack of diversity and hopes to change the way the world views plus-size people with a social-media campaign called #effyourbeautystandards.

Yesterday, the star took to her Instagram account to share her frustration at the lack of change and how she’s heard even she doesn’t “represent” plus-size bodies.

“Unfortunately, I’m literally the ONLY visibly FAT plus size mainstream model,” she wrote. “Do I have a small face? Yes! Blame it on genetics. But the rest of me is big, fat and all of that.

“I don’t have toned arms, stomach, butt, belly or thighs. Far from it. My body jiggles when I walk, PROUDLY. In photos yes, things are smoothed, I’m under good lighting with a talented team like this photo. However I constantly post photos without all of that and at the end of the day I’m still the shortest (5'5) and biggest (US 22) working plus-size model doing the best I can.”

The model continues to say that she will continue to use her career to shout about the lack of diversity, writing, “Our focus should be on seeing different races, body types and genders when we flip through magazines or turn on our TV’s instead of picking apart those who are trying to make a difference.”

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