Tess Holliday is SELF’s new cover star and that’s incredibly important
Tess Holliday is a plus-size model, body positivity advocate, and all around Instagram gem (seriously, her posts will make you feel 1,000 times happier). She’s also on the cover of the latest SELF, proving that all bodies are beautiful and worthy of being featured in a prominent women’s magazine.
Holliday took to Instagram to post a picture of her cover, along with a truly ~glowing~ caption.
“I’m over the moon to finally share – This is totally surreal to see a fat body on the cover of a health magazine,” she wrote. “Thank you Self for changing the game with me!”
I’m over the moon to finally share- This is totally surreal to see a fat body on the cover of a health magazine 😭🙏🏻 Thank you Self for changing the game with me! 💕 RP @selfmagazine We’re thrilled to share our first ever digital cover, featuring model, author, and fat-positivity activist Tess Holliday (@tessholliday). From editor-in-chief @carolynkylstra’s editor’s letter: “Holliday identifies as a fat woman; we chose to give her a platform because she has insightful things to say about thriving in a world that devalues bodies of size. We also chose to feature her because size representation is necessary, especially for a national health media brand that can help guide the conversation about what it means to be healthy and how to make health accessible. You don’t know how healthy or unhealthy a person is just by looking at them, you don’t know what their health goals and priorities are, and you don’t know what they’ve already done or are planning to do for their health going forward. And moreover, you should know that concern trolling—using a person’s perceived health to justify making them feel bad about themselves—isn’t just counterproductive, it’s abusive.” — Photographer: @catherineservel, Wardrobe Styling: @marpeidro, Hair: @christianmarc at @forwardartists using @randco, Makeup: @kristinhilton at @thewallgroup, Manicure: @nailsbyemikudo at @opusbeauty | #TeamSELF #effyourbeautystandards
The model opened up to the magazine about her body, modeling, and concern trolls — which are a particularly annoying brand of internet users who pretend they’re super worried about her health.
“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,” Holliday told SELF. “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.”
Things got even worse when Holliday was pregnant. The model was “flooded” with messages from concern trolls, who told her that she was going kill or deform the baby because of her weight. Others said that she wouldn’t live long enough to see her child grow up. Side note: the internet is a gross, gross place sometimes.
“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,” Holliday explained. “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.’”
When Tess Holliday was pregnant, her social media feeds were flooded with nasty comments about how her weight would harm her baby. The hateful commentary was nothing short of online abuse, but Holliday didn't let other people’s words affect her sense of self-worth. “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." Read the full interview and see more of @tessholliday's images through the link in bio. —— Photographer: @catherineservel, Wardrobe Styling: @marpeidro, Hair: @christianmarc at @forwardartists using @randco, Makeup: @kristinhilton at @thewallgroup, Manicure: @nailsbyemikudo at @opusbeauty | #TeamSELF
Holliday added that she still has some insecurities about her weight, but she’s come a long, long way from where she once was.
Our first-ever digital cover star Tess Holliday (@tessholliday) wants you to save your concern about her health. “I try to tell people all the time you can't judge other people and what they're doing with their bodies,” she says. Holliday is using her personal body acceptance revolution to help us change the way we think about weight and health. Tap the link in bio to read @smashfizzle’s interview with Holliday for our cover story. —— Photographer: @catherineservel, Wardrobe Styling: @marpeidro, Hair: @christianmarc at @forwardartists using @randco, Makeup: @kristinhilton at @thewallgroup, Manicure: @nailsbyemikudo at @opusbeauty | #TeamSELF
“[My arms are] the one of part of my body I still struggle with,” she said. “But I would’ve never [sat] here in a public place, I would have never taken my shirt off or showed my arms six years ago, and it’s nice. It’s hot outside, it’s nice to be able to just not feel like I have to cover up because I’m worried about what other people think about me.”