Tess Holliday, a 5-foot-3 plus-size model, fat-positive advocate, and tatted mother of two, is anything but conventional when it comes to her life and career. Despite that — or maybe because of it — she’s making history as a Cosmo girl.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Holliday announced her upcoming cover photo for Cosmopolitan U.K.’s October issue, in which she’s wearing an emerald one-piece bathing suit. The model herself is not shy about sharing how thrilled she is, and neither are her many thousands of followers, inspired by the inclusive representation.
Phew, I’m literally a COSMO GIRL!! Can’t believe I’m saying that! 😭😭
Thank you @CosmopolitanUK 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 💕
Issue hits stands 8/31! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 pic.twitter.com/sBYWY7nEwZ
— Tess Holliday 🥀 (@Tess_Holliday) August 29, 2018
“If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life,” Holliday wrote alongside the photo, before others echoed the same sentiment.
How many young women would have been out enjoying life knowing they’re beautiful as they are, rather than crying over why they don’t look like they “should”, if photos like this were more prevalent? https://t.co/yhvnuWwRFG
— Seasonal Thalassophile (@Oddsbodikins7) August 29, 2018
You get it girl!! Show these magazines what beauty really means❤️ pic.twitter.com/LzOSQeitw1
— Nakilla (@Nakilla) August 29, 2018
More body diversity in media please. That includes women, men and non-binary. https://t.co/FyfLi8q5qG
— Rowan Reid: Your Pleasantly Peculiar Paramour (@MissRowanReid) August 29, 2018
Still, reactions to the cover and Holliday’s words inside the magazine have not been all positive. Instead, some followers have taken it upon themselves to warn the model about the dangers of promoting obesity. In the interview, Holliday reveals she is “the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life.”
Please don’t promote obesity. Obesity is a serious condition.
— Benimana_Jeep (@benimanajpaul) August 29, 2018
Great confidence but your BMI is unhealthy sis.
— ❝WickedLittleSiren❞ ♏ (@La_Bella_Amor) August 30, 2018
True. She will be dead by 45 years old.
— 115 Days Since West Ham Won a Premier League Match (@ToryLAD1989) August 30, 2018
Negative comments aimed at the 33-year-old went so far as to note that her weight may contribute to a shorter life expectancy. But her loyal followers steered the conversation back to a more pressing topic, and one that Holliday addresses in the cover story: mental health.
“I remember very vividly driving in the car with Bowie [her 2-year-old son] and I thought to myself, ‘I wish I could just disappear. I wish I could vanish,’” Holliday told Cosmopolitan. “It felt at that point like I was causing everyone around me so much pain. It felt like a never-ending black hole. I was so tired of hurting … I just didn’t want to be here anymore.”
Some pointed out feelings of pain and low self-worth could be the result of society’s unrealistic expectations of “beauty.”
also self-loathing, stress, depression, guilt, self-harm, anxiety and disordered eating are consequences of being made to feel as if your very existence is worthless and offensive
— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) August 30, 2018
Acknowledging that beauty comes in different sizes in no way encourages people to become or remain obese.
Acknowledging a plus size model’s beauty will not make people eat more to become obese.
Your argument needs refining, sir.
— Misa Narrates (@misaNarrates) August 29, 2018
So many arguing how this is promoting obesity…Yet magazines have been known for promoting unrealistic goals for most people of the other spectrum – to be unrealistically thin. Some people are naturally big boned/framed let’s not forget. This is celebrating change – not obesity.
— A. 🌻 (@AlieVicious) August 30, 2018
Overall, the message behind Holliday’s cover is even more beautiful than the image itself, detailing her process of finding self-love. And that is reason to celebrate.
Supermodel eats a cake replica of her on the cover of Cosmopolitan pic.twitter.com/CzywTL1VZr
— Roosh (@rooshv) September 6, 2018