Tess Holliday is the world’s first size 22 supermodel and the first woman of her size signed to a major modeling agency. She’s known as much for her groundbreaking achievements as she is for her willingness to speak her mind. She once slammed Victoria’s Secret for limited beauty standards. Now, she’s addressing criticism that her size makes her unhealthy in a new interview with Paper Magazine.
Check out excerpts from her interview below:
On health critics:
“I think that some of the biggest surprises I’ve had early on, actually to this day, are all the misconceptions about my body and my health. There are so many people who think that being a plus-size model, that there’s something wrong with it, or that I must be unhealthy or that I’m promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. And at first it was very hard, and I blamed it on myself, and then I thought … my health is none of their business, I’m modeling for this clothing company, so why are people dissecting my body and telling me that I can’t wear some things? That I can’t look a certain way because of my body? And I did combat that for awhile, and argue with people about that, but ultimately it’s kind of like banging your head into a brick wall. If people are committed to that theory, I’m not going to change their mind. But there people who look like me, and feel like me, who feel like they don’t have a voice, and that encouraged me to keep going.”
On the term plus-size:
“I do think it’s very important, especially for young women who are kind of coming into their bodies, and older women who are becoming more OK with their bodies, to have terms for being bigger. When they look online, or look in magazines, they see that label, or see that term, they feel like they’re not alone. They have something to identify with. I’m really a firm believer in calling it what it is. And I don’t really see anyone losing sleep over the fact that they’re called plus-size.”
On the downside of social media:
“Unfortunately, the Internet’s given people, a platform…I mean, I’ve obviously given myself a platform for myself and my career, and if it wasn’t for social media [I wouldn’t be where I am], but it’s also allowed people say the most terrible things that they would never say to anyone [in person], because of the anonymity. That’s the really dangerous part about the internet.”
Read Tess’s interview with Paper Magazine in full here.