Size-22 Model Tess Holliday Talks Relationships and Her Career, Says "Black Men Love Me"

Plus-size star also dishes on the beauty industry

By Francesca Bacardi Jun 08, 2015 12:56 PMTags
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There is more to plus-size model Tess Holliday than her looks and her body, and she'll be the first to tell you that. But working in an industry that scrutinizes people for only that might come off as a bit ironic, especially since she's incredibly vocal about taking down industry standards.

"Isn't it better to have a voice within the industry that's speaking against all that stuff, instead of nobody doing anything at all?" she asked The Guardian. "Do I like what the media does? No, but I'm very outspoken about that. So, it's a pretty simple answer."

Launching the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards in 2013 to combat the pressure for women to be thin, Holliday finds that many of her posts have helped people find courage. But no matter what she does to make a difference, she still finds herself being subjugated to degrading catcalls. The article describes an encounter in which an "African American guy" said "something appreciative" as he walked by Holliday. Like any women, Holliday found herself confused as to why men do that.

"What do guys think they'll achieve by yelling something?" she asked in the article. "They're like: 'She'll love this, I'll definitely get her number.'"

But, she confessed, it did feel somewhat nice to be noticed.

"I do admit that black men love me," she added. "I always forget that, and then I come to a black neighborhood and I remember."

She has to keep her wandering eye in check, however, as she's engaged to Nick Holliday. No—they're not married—she just took his surname when she signed with modeling agency Milk Model Management. Described as a "sweet and talkative Australian" with a "hipster beard," Nick has been by her side through it all and appreciates her for all of her guilty pleasures, including chocolate!

"Everyone has their vices," she told the British publication, "but mine are visible.

"If I shot all day and I want a fucking hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant I'm going to eat it. Am I going to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner? No. Is it OK to do it? If you want," she added.

"But, you know, no one is coming at celebrities for smoking two packs of cigarettes. Or people who post a photo with their drink at the end of the day. So why is it OK to do that to me? Life is sh--ty, so why would you judge somebody for dealing with it in the best way they can?"