#effyourbeautystandards alternative style

Summer Issue Spotlight - Tess Munster

Tuesday, August 04, 2015 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

Written by: Jennifer Oquendo 

When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see beauty or a face full of imperfections and flaws? Do you see someone attractive and interesting or are you embarrassed of your appearance? Nowadays society has put such pressure on women all shapes and sizes. Beauty seems to almost be unachievable or fantasy like.

The media reveals beautiful women as almost perfect. In order to be beautiful you need to be thin, your makeup should look almost airbrushed and flawless, your boobs and butt need to be big yet proportional and any imperfections need to be quietly and quickly corrected with cosmetic procedures. With such a tough list to get through, it’s no wonder why women are so insecure and completely unsatisfied with their bodies. The idea of beauty changed from who you are and what’s within to how well you can hide your blemishes. It’s deceiving and unfortunately women fall everyday into the pressures of society’s standards of what beauty is. In this day and age, women are hiding their imperfections because they are afraid of what people may say or think. Except for Tess.

Tess Holliday who is also known as Tess Munster is the largest plus-size model and blogger based in LA and an inspiration to many women all over the world. She has inspired the internet and social media with her curvaceous boldness and security in her body. She has recently become the first model of her height and size, 5 foot 5 inches tall and a size 22, to be signed to a mainstream modeling agency- called Milk Model Management. But going beyond the accomplishment of being signed, Tess has a message that could change the world.

She decided to move to Seattle to pursue her love for makeup. She enjoyed making women look and feel beautiful but she felt like there was something missing. Tess decided to move to LA and that’s when her life would completely change forever. She responded to 'House of Dreams Model Search' by Torrid and was accepted. She grew attention from many people and soon her dream of modeling quickly became a reality.

"It's something that I've wanted my whole life, so to even think that it's happened, it feels like an out-of-body experience. … I found out about plus-size modeling when I was 15, and I went to an audition in Atlanta. They told me that I was too short and I was too big, and I would never model. But I'm very hardheaded! … I was getting shoved into lockers, I was being called names. Modeling really helped my confidence because I started seeing myself in a different light. I started seeing myself like, 'Wow, I'm actually pretty,”’ she told USA Today.

Although Tess gets a ton of positive support, changing the status quo is anything but easy. She started a movement by using hashtag -- #effyourbeautystandards on Instagram in 2013, to help promote beauty and to encourage women to embrace their bodies. "I created the hashtag because I was tired of being told what I could and couldn't wear by the media and how I should cover my body because of my size," she told The Huffington Post. "I decided 'eff that,' I will wear what I want!" With 826,000 Facebook fans and more than 645,000 Instagram followers, Tess has been a voice to thousands of women from all over the world. The #effyourbeautystandards is typically active on social media where women from all over send their own positive and encouraging comments and pictures. The movement is going well and has reached and helped many people; however, Tess is planning on a website for the movement in the future.

All images courtesy of Tessholliday.com 

On her Facebook account, Tess usually reveals pictures with her hair pinned up and often wearing dresses, swimsuits and lingerie. She is unafraid of the negative comments that state that she is unhealthy or promoting obesity. "Size isn't an indicator of health," she says. "I don't smoke. I barely drink. I work 15-hour days, I'm getting married this year and I have a son,” she told LA weekly. "Plus-size fashion bloggers are really changing things in the industry, but plus models haven't been as progressive," she says. "We're hangers and we wear what companies tell us to wear. The reason I'm different is I have my own style and I do what I want and share that."

The fact that she is unafraid to flaunt her curvy body and oozes confidence that is rarely seen nowadays is changing the way people view true beauty. Tess goes against your typical beauty standards that society has required. And she’s okay with that.  

All images courtesy of Tessholliday.com 

Recently the results of her first agency photoshoot with Milk Model Agency were released on Instagram. Catherine Harbour photographed Tess in black and white images wearing a scooped-neck tee and boxer briefs. The images revealed Tess and her many tattoos as well as her confidence and her comfort in her body. She looked fierce, unafraid and very comfortable.

Although Tess has been successful in the modeling industry, she doesn’t want to stop there. Her desire to continue to be the voice for a lot of women that struggle with their image is something she always looks to achieve. There’s nothing wrong with loving yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. With that she knows that there will always be negative people that will try to tear her views down, but thankfully Tess focuses on the positive to help promote body love for women these days. "I think if someone doesn't look at an image and feel something, you haven't done your job," she told the Daily Mail. "Whether it's negative or positive, it should evoke something in them. That's what I've always done with my work, I want to challenge society's perception of 'beauty' and what's acceptable in our industry and the world. There is no one way to be a woman, or to be beautiful. We all deserve a place."

To read more articles like this, check out our Summer Issue HERE.

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