Tess Holliday, a plus-size model and makeup artist, is speaking about the criticism she faces on a daily basis because of her size, and how she's finally starting to love who she is. Holliday, who wears a size 26, is never shy about her body, but admits that she's constantly harassed for her size.
"People think [plus-size models] disgusting," said in an interview with Daily Mail. "They automatically think we're lazy, when I work hard and I'm constantly on my feet. 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."
In a recent Instagram post, Holliday not only spoke about how everyone, regardless of size should be allowed to love their body, but also shared some of the messages she receives that try and bring her down.
I snapped this yesterday after my workout because I felt cute! I never share these photos to prove anything, but it’s a conscious choice to share the ways I move my body because it de-stigmatizes the notion that plus size folks aren’t healthy/active. For me, I work out because it helps me in many ways, but what about those that can’t? Non able bodied folks or those that have illnesses that prevent them from doing so? Does that mean that they aren’t allowed to love their bodies? Are we only granting self love these days to those that are perceived as “healthy”?
I’m told often that it’s my obligation as a public figure to educate folks that physical health is more important than self love. But really, my only obligation to y’all is to live a life as authentic and transparent as possible. I will continue to show that loving your body in whatever state, is vital. You can work out all you want, but if you hate yourself, no amount of weight loss will fix that. If you build a house on sand, it’s gonna wash away right? I say that as someone who in the past, has treated my body horribly. I said unkind things to it, and I allowed people who were closest to me to treat me as less than because of my size.
I have tried to shrink myself metaphorically, to be invisible, to not stand out or take up space because I was so ashamed of my body. Why? Because I didn’t know it was okay to love myself, AS IS. This kind of self love doesn’t happen overnight, and trust me, I NEVER thought I would have my “gym bros” (I lovingly call them this) @chrisfdsilva@getfitbyrob@willy_beamen by my side, keeping me accountable in ways I’ve asked them to. I never thought I would love going to the gym, but when I get to see my bros, it it makes my day.
I’m also grateful to be working out with Chris while @massy.arias is busy running an empire. She has taught me so much, but it’s my job to implement what I’ve learned from her because this fat baby bird has to leave the nest eventually! If you take anything away from this be kind, always be the bigger person (in my case that’s easy!), treat others with compassion & realize that you deserve to love yourself as is. #effyourbeautystandards
Then Holliday shared some comments she's received through her inbox.
"You're nasty. I feel bad for your husband who has to f**k you. I bet he cheats on you," one person told her.
"Dude, you post screenshots of people's messages so post this one: how many grandmas do you see that are as fat as you? 80 year olds? Oh, none? Exactly," someone else said. "You'll die if you keep this up which is fine, dying happens, but you are encouraging young girls to do the same. Eff your beauty standards and also eff your life expectancy standards and eff being there for your kids as adults. And btw, I'm totally cool with sending this to a stranger because you are using your position as a public figure to influence young people into unhealthy lives."
Even just a quick scan of her Instagram page will show you how ridiculous people get about Holliday's size.
"I have no problem with weight at all on anyone, my problem is health," a user pointed out, unprompted. "Heart attack, clogged veins, the lack of ability to climb stairs... I’ve been there and it was okay. You can love yourself 100% but your heart/high blood pressure/ lord just breathing should be of importance. I’m not saying this applies to all overweight but it will catch up with you. Plz... if not for you for your kids."
"We would never glorify someone being anorexic so why should anyone glorify being morbidly obese," someone else said.
The thing about people saying "it's about health" is that no one actually knows what Holliday's health records look like. Health doesn't mean thin or skinny. It's not our place to judge Holliday or anyone else for that matter) for her size. On the flip side of that coin, you're going to face criticism when you're a public figure, whether you're the picture of health or not.
Everyone should feel comfortable loving their body. It's no one else's business but our own!