Tess Holliday is proud of her body, but the model with over 1 million followers is still coping with ruthless trolls on social media.
The 33-year-old recently revealed in an essay for InStyle that she still gets messages on social media every day from people telling her to “drop dead” because of her size.
“I would be lying if I said they didn’t affect me,” admitted Holliday. “I go to therapy to try to make sense of it all. I will tell someone to f--- off if they deserve it, but I’d rather come from a place of compassion.”
Holliday shared that along with therapy, she occasionally deletes her social media apps to get some much-needed relief.
“When I’m in a bad headspace, I definitely mute people on social media who don’t make me feel great at the moment,” admitted Holliday. “And that’s OK. Who you follow is who you’re letting into your inner circle. It’s in your subconscious. It’s what you’re absorbing. Sometimes I delete social media from my phone altogether. Then I focus on my ‘self-care folder’ that has games like Cat Café, where you feed and pet little virtual cats. It’s silly, but it takes me away from the negativity.”
Holliday also shared that people still accuse her of promoting obesity or “recruiting people to be fat” — which makes her laugh.
“If I say, ‘I love myself,’ and they think I’m saying, ‘Hey, you need to be 300 pounds, then you too could enjoy life as much as me,” explained Holliday. “I have to smile. People act as if I’m selling Tupperware or something — that’s not how it works. I wish I would’ve loved myself 100 pounds ago, but this is the body I’m in. I can’t live life being miserable, because I could die tomorrow. And then what — I was miserable because I was fat? What a waste.”
Holliday credited modeling to help her not only accept her body but embrace it, too.
“Modeling also changed my life,” said Holliday. “That sounds really cheesy, but it’s true. I never felt confident before I got on set; there was never any clothing I felt good or sexy in. Now I feel the most on top of my game when I’m at a photo shoot. I thrive in that space because I know I am the person I always dreamed of being. And I’m creating something that’s going to be around much longer than me, something that brings more visibility to the world so little kids and women feel represented.”
Back in 2017, Holliday told Fox News she still faces criticism on social media, a platform she’s been dedicated to using as a means to let the world know all body types should be respected and given dignity. However, Holliday added she steps away from it every now and then to focus on what truly makes her happy.
“I think it’s really important to disconnect from social media and take a break to understand that people saying things to you online are just miserable people and not to take it personally,” said Holliday. “And to understand that it’s OK to live your life and to realize that social media is not real. It’s all an illusion. It’s what people want you to see."
Holliday said she struggled to become confident.
“The confidence did not happen overnight,” said Holliday. “I still have my good days and bad days. My team that got me ready today can tell you I was an absolute nightmare before this because I always have a moment before I go on camera of like, ‘What do I wear? Maybe I shouldn’t wear this.’
"That’s why I always say that loving yourself is a journey, not a destination. But that’s really what it is. It’s a long process and it’s drawn from people in my life like my mom, my husband and my friends really lifting me up and reminding me that you have good days and bad days and it’s OK.”
Holliday continues to break standards in the fashion world and she frankly doesn’t care if you call her fat. (For the record, she does hit the gym and shares her fitness routine on Instagram, too). However, Holliday admitted it can be frustrating at times when she’s simply not recognized for her work, like any other model.
“I feel that way constantly,” said Holliday. “I wish that I got to talk about my accomplishments far more than I have to talk about my size. Or feeling like I have to justify my health because, in reality, the people who are questioning my health or my size actually do not know anything about my well-being."
There are many more goals Holliday still wants to accomplish.
“… When I signed to my agency, I felt like it gave me validation and it also set me up in a different playing field,” said Holliday. “People gave me more attention and I don’t always handle it the best and I’m still learning. But, I get to be here today and it’s a lot of fun.”