"Do you have something that scares you? If so, show it off."
Photo: Noam Galai / Getty Images
If you're at all familiar with Tess Holliday, you know she's not shy about calling out destructive beauty standards. Whether she's bashing the hotel industry for catering to smaller guests, or detailing how an Uber driver body-shamed her, Holliday never minces words. Those truth bombs resonate; Holliday's #EffYourBeautyStandards grew from a hashtag into one of the most influential body-positivity movements today.
Holliday hasn't just pointed out flaws in the fashion and beauty industry, she's proven through her own career that plus-size models can and should be taken seriously. Since becoming the first size 22 model to be signed by a major agency, Holliday has landed many major gigs, including a partnership with Sebastian Professional, the hair partner for Christian Siriano's New York Fashion Week show. We met up with Holliday backstage during the show to talk self-love, beauty tips, and living the mom life. Here, her words of wisdom.
On body diversity at fashion week: "Obviously there aren't many opportunities for someone who looks like me to walk in fashion shows. It's incredibly frustrating. I'm attending two other shows today and one tomorrow, and I know that Christian is the only one using plus-size models out of all the shows that I'm going to. Some people say 'Well, he's only using size 14' or 16 or whatever, but that's better than not using plus-size models at all. We need to see more designers taking bold steps and taking risks because that's how we're going to change the fashion industry."
Her body-confidence trick: "I think that people think that since I literally wrote the book on how to love yourself that I love myself all the time, but I don't. Sometimes I love it all and sometimes I pick everything apart. Right now I'm having a hard time loving my stomach, because I had a kid a year and a half ago. My body is still not quite the same because I had a C-section. In those moments when I'm having a hard time, I'll try to wear something that scares me. I'll wear a crop top if I'm not loving my stomach because it kind of forces me to pay attention to it and to love it, really. That's why I started Eff Your Beauty Standards. It was all about me saying 'Do you have something that scares you? If so, show it off.'"
Her workout M.O.: "My current workout routine is quite sporadic. I have a 20-month-old, and let me tell you, every day watching him is like training for the Olympics. When I'm traveling, sometimes my workout is literally running gate to gate or airport to airport, so I try not to be too hard on myself. Sometimes I have 12-hour days, so I just try to work it in when I can, enjoy life, and stay as active as possible." (Related: Tess Holliday Reminds Us That Moms of Every Size Deserve to "Feel Sexy & Desired")
Her hair maintenance routine: "Sebastian does a really good Drench treatment hair mask. ($17; ulta.com) They say to only put it on for three minutes, but no one does that. Once a week or every two weeks I'll put the hair mask in, shave my legs and do what I need to do in the shower, then rinse it out. I do so much to my hair for modeling and color, so it's nice to just kind of give it a boost." (Here are 10 more hair mask options.)
After quite a long road of feeling sad/lost, it sure is nice to be doing what I love & be genuinely happy. (Even tho I’m not smiling on the outside, I am on the inside!) Yesterday was magical & I might just keep posting all the photos if that’s ok? K? @leahdarcymakeup & @eddie_cook on the glam y’all
How she de-stresses: "I love taking baths with Lush bath bombs, or just sitting in a dark room and watching Netflix to turn my brain off. Right now I'm watching Lookalikes. It's a really funny mockumentary about celebrity impersonators in the U.K. It also helps to spend time playing a game with my kids, and I love going to Disneyland to just to kind of unwind!"