photo: Facebook/TessHoliday
Whether you follow plus-size fashion and body positivity or not, there is one name showing up everywhere: Tess Holliday. The former Walmart-employee-turned-supermodel has a fascinating Cinderella story.


Tess Holiday is the first size 22 model to be signed by a major a modeling agency.

photo: Facebook/ Tess Holliday

Now 30 years old, she was born in Mississippi and moved around the south a lot as a kid. Her given name is Ryann Hoven.


Far from the glitz and glamour of modeling, Holliday had a rough childhood. Her mother was disabled after being shot twice in the head by an ex-boyfriend.

photo: Instagram/Tess Holliday



She was bullied in school and told BuzzFeed that her stepdad used to punch her repeatedly in the stomach. Through it all she always dreamed of being a model.

Source: BuzzFeed 


She had her son, Riley, at age 20, and worked at a Mississippi Walmart to pay the bills. After she moved to L.A. — not to model, to be with a man she met on OK Cupid — she was discovered.


A casting director found her portfolio online and just like that, she was fronting billboards.

photo: Faceboook/Tess Holliday

At under 5'4" and approximately 280 pounds, she doesn't care if people call her fat or plus-size or curvy. “The reality is I am fat. It’s a word. It’s an adjective. And I don’t care.”

Whoever made this, ☎️ call me- you are my new best friend ????

A photo posted by ➕Size Model | Mom | Brat???? (@tessholliday) on

Source: BuzzFeed


Her body is covered in tattoos of Mae West, Miss Piggy, Marilyn Monroe, and Dolly Parton.


She is also obsessed with Hello Kitty.

???????????? playing with my #mothersday present like an adult... Dammit. ???????????? (#hellokitty voice by my neighbor)

A video posted by ➕Size Model | Mom | Brat???? (@tessholliday) on


She met her fiancé, Nick Holliday, in 2012 through Tumblr. According to People, he reached out and said, "I love how you inspire other women." He's also her manager.

photo: Facebook/Tess Holiday

Source: People


Holliday spun her wildly successful body positive hashtag, #effyourbeautystandards, into a line of merch...

photo: Facebook/TessHolliday

...but a scandal broke out when customers claimed they never received their purchases.

photo: Facebook/TessHoliday

Holliday told Refinery29 that she would never intentionally "defraud" her fans. "I have had more than a few tearful and restless nights over it. The reality is that I've done the best I can, and have tried to make everyone happy," she said.

photo: Facebook/ Tess Holliday

Source: Refinery29


Now six months pregnant, Holliday is using her pregnancy to further promote body acceptance and positivity.

photo: Facebook/TessHolliday

In February, she announced her first capsule collection named MBLM, available exclusively through Canada's Penningtons.


Then, in late February, fitness personality Ashy Bines came for Holliday on Instagram, saying that she is not a good role model and drawing the below comparison...


Holliday had the perfect response.

Oh no, a fitness instagramer doesn't like me because I'm fat & a bad "role model". I'm gonna go change who I am entirely...

Posted by Tess Holliday on Thursday, February 25, 2016

And that's why we love her. She twirls on her haters and, in her own words, is "not going anywhere ... sorry for anyone that hates me."

photo: Youtube/MichaelKorte