After years of stick-thin models monopolizing the fashion industry, it appears the standards are changing.
On Jan. 22, U.K.-based Milk Model Management announced a new partnership with plus-size model Tess Holliday. The Los Angeles-based model is the first of her size to be signed by a major modeling agency.
For most of her life, Holliday was told she was too overweight and too short to be a model. Today, she is now a rising star, appearing in Vogue Italia and modeling for dozens of top designers.
According to The Daily News, plus-size models are generally taller than 5 foot 8 inches and U.S. sizes 8 to 16. At 5 foot 5 and size 22, Holliday is by far the largest plus-size model at Milk.
Anna Shillinglaw, the owner and director of Milk Model Management, discovered Holliday through Instagram. In an interview with The Daily News, Shillinglaw said, “I started following her, and saw how many followers she had – more than most models. She’s such an important role model for so many women.”
Over the past four years, Holliday established an influential online presence. She frequently posts photos of herself flaunting her curves, adding captions of body positive mantras to empower others.
Holliday posts these photos on Instagram under the hashtag she created called #EffYourBeautyStandard. Holliday created this account with the intention of inviting women to share selfies in the name of body love.
By receiving this contract with Milk, Holliday has been able to negate the critics, who said she was “too large” to model. Holliday’s driving force is to help other women feel confident in their bodies, regardless of their size or what society tells them is beautiful.
During an interview with The Huffington Post, Holliday said, “I created the hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards because I was tired of being told what I could and couldn’t wear by the media and how I should cover my body because of my size. I decided ‘eff that, I will wear what I want’.”
Freshman Cylie Alflen had nothing but admiration and respect for Holliday, saying, “I am overwhelmed by the idea of this being such an amazing step in the right direction regarding women empowerment and accepting our body images.”
Junior Angelica Carrino commented, “I love flipping through magazines and seeing all the beautiful models and their clothing, hairstyles and makeup. Then again, all the models tend to look the same after a while. By including models like Tess Holliday, it adds a lot of diversity and shows off women in a more realistic way.”
Sophomore Molly Burns added, “By being so comfortable with her body image, Tess Holliday is breaking barriers that have existed in society for such a long time. Maybe now that Tess is stepping out in such a strong and confident way, the fashion industry will finally begin to embrace women of all different shapes and sizes.”
Editor’s Note: Information from CNN, The Huffington Post, New York Daily News, UPI.com and US Magazine was used in this article.