LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - A Laurel woman has landed a major modeling contract, making history as the first plus size model of her size to sign with an agency.
Tess Holliday, formally known as Tess Munster, signed with the London based modeling agency MiLK.
“I was in Hattiesburg and they had a Lane Bryant there. I was 15 and it was my first time wearing plus size clothing,” Holliday said. “I saw Emme, who was the first plus size super model. She was on a magazine they had in Lane Bryant and I told my mom I wanted to do it.”
Inspired by another woman of her size, Holliday noticed a casting call and chased after her dream.
“We were listening to the radio and they had a casting for plus size models in Atlanta, so my mom took me there,” said Holliday. “But they ended up saying I was too short and big and I would never model.”
Standing at 5' 5” and wearing a size 22, Holliday is nowhere near the “industry standard.” For most plus-sized models, the shortest height allowed is 5' 8” and the largest size is a 16.
Now that she has become a signed model for MiLK, one of the largest agencies in the world, Holliday now hopes to be an inspiration to those who have been told they couldn't accomplish their dreams.
“I mean, honestly the reason I started modeling was because I was bullied so much as a kid, and people always told me that I'm never going to be good enough and that I could never do what I wanted to do,” Holliday said.
Holliday also hopes to change the harsh criticism and standards of beauty the world places on women.
“The media tries to put everybody in a box; in an unrealistic box,” said Holliday. “They try to tell us that we have to look a certain way to be beautiful and it's just not true. And that's been kind of like my life mission is to show other women that you don't have to look one way to look beautiful and that includes different sizes and skin color.”
Holliday said she hopes her success will help others to succeed as well.
“I was really glad that I didn't listen to everybody telling me that I couldn't do this because now I've proved them wrong and that's kind of my hope for everybody else just to follow your dreams regardless of what other people say.”
To view more of Holliday's modeling, click here.