Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by your mirror, front-facing camera, or the reflection of yourself in a glass of wine *entire population slowly raises their hands*. As much as you try, it’s difficult to love yourself all the time. Especially when you realize that you downed an entire box of pizza, eight tequila shots, and a small village last night, and now you feel like sh*t. Instagram makes it kind of hard to love yourself sometimes, what with all the models on your feed who make beauty look so effortless (not to mention, the trolls who might comment on your pics if you dare go a day without wearing makeup). That’s why we brought plus-size model Tess Holliday on our Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast to get real with us about body positivity and confidence.
For those of you who don’t know, Tess is a super important figure within the plus-size modeling and body positivity communities. She’s the creator of the viral hashtag #effyourbeautystandards, a movement that called out unrealistic beauty standards. She also became the largest plus-size model of her size and height to get signed to a mainstream agency when she signed with Milk Management in 2014. On social media, Tess is known for her fearless, take-no-bullsh*t attitude. If you troll her, she will clap back with facts. All in all, Tess is a boss-ass woman.
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Phew, I’m literally a COSMO GIRL!! Can’t believe I’m saying that! ???????? Thank you @cosmopolitanuk & @farrahstorr for this incredible opportunity ???????? If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life & hope this does that for some of y’all ???? Issue hits stands 8/31! ???????????????? Photo by the incredible @wattsupphoto #effyourbeautystandards
A recent UK Cosmo cover star, Holliday has used her social media platform as a model to speak up about what it’s really like to embrace your body. Holliday is one unfiltered betch, and she doesn’t mask anything when it comes to talking about her triumphs and struggles with self-image. It’s not f*cking easy no matter how famous you are (sigh) to love yourself. Here are Holliday’s top tips to keep in mind about the body positivity movement, confidence and embracing who you are:
F*ck Society’s Beauty Standards
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I was laughed off stage at a beauty pageant when I was growing up, so @cosmopolitanuk decided to crown me queen in my October cover story ???? I wish 13 year old me could see me now ???? #effyourbeautystandards | Dress made by @zelieforshe / styled by @amybannermanstylist and @maddyalford / photos @wattsupphoto / production, art and props Cat Costelloe and @colesontoast / glam by @jessica__mejia @sofiasjoohair @kimtreacynails ???????? #cosmogirl
It can be really hard to love the way you look when the only people that ever come across your Instagram feed are stick-thin models in crop tops pretending to eat chicken nuggets. You might think you look super hot—until your post is right below Alexis Ren’s bikini pics. The problem is, you’re never going to feel good about yourself if you can’t see other people who look like you, and are actually killing the Insta game, looking flawless as anything.
That’s why Holliday created her own Instagram campaign in 2013 called “Eff Your Beauty Standards”. It started as a hashtag for people to share photos of themselves in an outfit that scares or makes them feel beautiful. Now, it’s evolved into a community that supports your everyday gal just trying to take a cute selfie. Holliday explains; “there are a ton of people around the world no matter their race or gender—that feel sh*t about themselves too, so let’s talk about it.”
Don’t Let Brands Trick You Into Thinking They’re Inclusive
It’s like, super trendy right now to be body positive, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s doing it properly. Holliday explains, “companies like Flat Tummy Tea have stuff that’s like ‘love yourself babe’ but they’re really saying ‘you’re disgusting, babe’.” If you think drinking colon clearing, sh*t-inducing tea is how you show your body “love”, you’re out of your f*cking mind. Holliday says, “they’re literally trying to capitalize on the fact that people feel horrible about themselves,” and she’s right.
There are so many brands that hide behind so-called body positivity when in reality, they’re still trying to sell you something by capitalizing on your insecurities. And they sell products that at best, won’t do anything for you and, at worst, could be harmful. Holliday suggests looking for brands that follow through with their promise. Brands who cop out at a size 12 and say they’re inclusive literally don’t account for 68% of American women who are size 14 and above to wear their clothes.
Here are some brands Holliday says are doing it right:
It’s Okay To Have Bad Days
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You can’t feel like Beyoncé every day unless you are Beyoncé (and even she has off days). So, it’s okay to wake up and feel more potato than human. Holliday notes, “sometimes I feel like I look like a hot turd and I’m just polishing .” Major mood. It may look like body positive Instagrammers like Holliday have their sh*t together, but in reality, they struggle a lot too. Being transparent on social media is something Holliday prides herself in. She shares moments of success, but also shares the moments where she needs to remind herself she’s worthy and beautiful.
So, cut yourself some slack. Even when you’re at your worst, you can find something you love about yourself. It could be your eyes, your intelligence, or your ability to put your entire fist in your mouth. For Holliday, it was working to reclaim the word fat and acknowledge that while she may see herself as fat, she’s so much more than that.
To hear the rest of Holliday’s interview, check out our Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast. And if you want more Tess Holliday in your life (hell yeah you do), check out her new series on People TV.
Images: Getty Images; tessholiday / Instagram (3)