Excerpt from Tess Holliday Self Magazine Article

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Tess Holliday Tess Holliday is a plus-size model, published author, and well known figure in the body positivity community. She’s responsible for the viral hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards, which she created after strangers left cruel comments on her own Instagram account.

There’s a certain type of internet commenter that any fat woman on social media is undoubtedly familiar with: The concern troll. If you are a fat woman with the unmitigated gall to present yourself as happy or beautiful, concern trolls will tell you that you are not healthy and should focus on losing weight. They will also often accuse you of “glorifying obesity” for not publicly hating or castigating yourself for existing while not thin. Of course, these folks don’t know how healthy you are or aren’t. But they are determined to “help” you. Yeah. Right.Body Weight

“In the beginning I used to say, ‘I’m healthy, my cholesterol’s fine, I don’t have high blood pressure, I don’t have diabetes,” she says. But now she takes a different approach. “By telling people that you see a doctor, and telling people that you’re healthy, it’s perpetuating the abuse against bigger bodies and the mindset that we owe it to people to be healthy. The reality is I don’t owe you shit and I don’t have to prove that I’m healthy or not, because it is nobody’s business.”

One example from Holliday’s life, out of too many to count: “When I got pregnant, I was flooded with a bunch of stuff,” she says. “I was flooded with, ‘You’re gonna kill your baby because you’re so fat,’ and ‘your baby’s gonna come out deformed,’ which is awful to say. Then there were other people that were saying that I wouldn’t live to see my child grow up, which is stupid because I think any of us could get hit by a car and die.” “I just refuse to go down that road, and to feel like I need to prove my health and my worth to people that don’t care,” she says. “There’s a famous quote, I don’t know who said it but I use it all the time: ‘Never waste your time explaining yourself to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.’”Plus Size

Her life story is compelling enough to write a book about, and she did. In The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl: Loving The Skin You’re In, Holliday writes about her often traumatic childhood with a verbally abusive father, bullies at school, a disabled mother—her mother was paralyzed after being shot twice by a significant other—and moving 40 times before she was 10 years old. Growing up, Holliday loved fashion and beauty and dreamed of becoming a model, although the particular pains of her childhood led to her channeling that energy into becoming a makeup artist, instead.

“I choose to wear designers and clothes from people that I like what they’re doing—because if you’re not supporting people like that, then they’re not gonna be around,” she says. “I like to buy clothes from people that actually give a shit about my body and about plus bodies. That makes me happy.”Self Magazine

She says modeling changed her relationship with fashion and, in a way, with her own self-esteem. “What shaped my perception about my body and myself was finding better clothes—that’s what changed my world,” she says. “That’s why modeling really changed my self-esteem and how I view myself, because I finally for the first time have accessibility to fashion that I didn’t know existed.” She marvels at how her relationship with her body has changed over time.

It’s clear that Holliday plays the role of caretaker among her friends and family. She has the heart of a leader. On Father’s Day in 2017, she shared with her followers that her husband Nick lives with mental illness, and that he is an excellent father to her children and partner to her, and that she takes care of him when he needs help. She elaborates on that dynamic in person: “Sometimes, Nick will tell me, ‘I can take care of myself.’ But then, I bring him his medicine every morning. I know that you enjoy that part of our relationship, because I enjoy it, and he needs it, and I feel like we balance each other out.”Sexy Plus Size

Holliday says she relies on her friends for support with her own mental health, although she’s still learning how to do that. And she relies a lot on her husband. “Part of my trauma is negative thought patterns,” she says, “and I’ll start to spiral and I’ll go down a rabbit hole and I need someone to [just put a hand on my shoulder and say,] ‘Take a breath.’ Nick was doing it actually on the way here. We’ll be married three years in July, we’ve been together for almost seven, and I’m finally learning this year how to let him love me.”

“I believe in doing things for yourself and being active in a way that suits you and your lifestyle, but I try to tell people all the time you can’t judge other people and what they’re doing with their bodies,” she says. “It’s none of my business and you just have to let people live and do their own thing, but I feel guilty saying I eat well and that I’m active and that I do all those things,” she says.Body Positivity

Still, this is a very personal decision for her. “I’ve realized that through loving yourself, at least for me personally, that means I take care of myself more.”