Tess Holliday made headlines earlier this year when she signed a contract with Milk Modeling agency — the first woman that wears a size 22 to land a contract with a major agency. In March, she starred in a campaign for plus-size clothing brand Torrid without getting photoshopped, and now she’s landed her very first major magazine cover — People magazine’s body issue.
However, it’s taken more than a decade for Holliday to break into the mainstream world.
Nobody was interested, she told People. I got one call back and they said, ˜Look, you have a pretty face, but you’re too short and you’re too big.’
At 5’5, the 29-year-old tatted-up mom certainly doesn’t fit into the mould placed on plus-size models. Most are at least 5’8 in height and are a size 8 to 16.
In the magazine, Holliday dons a lace bodysuit by Chubby Cartwheels paired with platform heels — an outfit she strategically chose herself.
I think if someone doesn’t look at an image and feel something, you haven’t done your job, she said. Whether it’s negative or positive, it should evoke something in them. There is no way to be a woman, or to be beautiful. We all deserve a place. I believe this with all my heart. While modeling is my career and my family is vitally important to me, I have this passion inside of me to help other women feel confident and comfortable in their bodies, regardless of their size or what society tells them is beautiful. It’s like a calling.
Holliday also tells the magazine about being bullied as a kid in Mississippi, which led her to dropping out of high school. She eventually got her GED, moved to Seattle and began working as a hair and makeup artist for fashion shows. A few years later, she headed to LA to pursue modeling.
Check out Holliday at her shoot for People magazine in the video below!