Tess Holliday

Ryann Maegen Hoven, known professionally as Tess Holliday and formerly known as Tess Munster (born July 5, 1985),[1] is an American plus-size model, blogger, and make-up artist based in Los Angeles.[2][3]

Tess Holliday
Ryann Maegen Hoven

(1985-07-05) July 5, 1985 (age 36)
Other namesTess Munster
OccupationModel, make-up artist, blogger
Years active2010–present
Nick Holliday
(m. 2015; div. 2020)
Modeling information
Hair colorBrown
Eye colorBrown
AgencyMavrick Artists Agency, Milk Model Management

Early lifeEdit

Holliday was born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi.[4] Her mother left her father when Holliday was a young child, and Holliday claims her family moved 40 times before she turned 10.[5]

In June 1995, her mother was paralyzed and disabled after she was shot twice in the head by her fiancé, who was charged with attempted murder.[5] At the age of 10,[6] Holliday and her brother moved back to their grandparents' house in Mississippi while their mother recovered.[5]

Holliday was bullied from fifth grade on for her weight and pale skin,[7] having a disabled mother[5] and because they lived in a trailer behind her grandparents' house.[6] She left school at the age of 17 and earned her GED.[7]

Holliday has also alleged verbal abuse about her size by her father, but she has said that she was supported and encouraged by her mother to become a model.[7] Holliday has severed contact with her father.[5]


At the age of 15,[8] while she was a US size 16 (UK 18/20) and 5 feet 3 inches tall,[9] Holliday auditioned at a casting call for plus models in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was told she would be lucky to do print advertisements or catalogue work because she was too short and big.[4][10]

Subsequently, Holliday relocated to Seattle where she stayed for two years and worked as a make-up artist, head make-up artist, hair stylist and creative director at fashion shows. She then moved back to Mississippi and gave birth to her son (at the age of 20). Then following Hurricane Katrina, she returned to Seattle[10] (where she had some pictures taken for her then boyfriend and posted them on Model Mayhem[11] in October 2009)[12] then she moved to Los Angeles in 2010.[10]

Her move to Los Angeles helped her gain confidence.[7][13] In 2011, while working as a receptionist at a Los Angeles dental office she became a professional model.[4] She responded to 'House of Dreams Model Search' by Torrid and was accepted.[10] At the same time, A&E chose her to be the face of documentary television series Heavy[10] after being discovered online.[7][13] In June 2011,[11] she became the face of the television show and was on an advert that ran nationwide and billboards across the country.[8] Holliday has been featured on "fatshion" blogs, she models accessories and plus size clothing lines, and was contacted to audition for Vh1's The Big Girls Club.[14][15] She has shot a campaign for Benefit Cosmetics, worked with David LaChapelle, featured in Vogue Italia[16] and appeared in Nylon magazine.[5]

In 2014, Holliday quit her day job at the dental office[5] to pursue her modeling career full-time.[17] In May 2014, a video was uploaded on Vimeo called #everyBODYisflawless, which featured Holliday and fellow plus-size fashion bloggers and models Gabi Gregg and Nadia Aboulhosn lip-synching and dancing to Beyoncé's 2013 song "Flawless".[18] In September of that year, she was interviewed by Jacob Soboroff and Meghan McCain on TakePart Live.[19]

In January 2015, London-based modeling agency Milk Model Management announced that they had signed Holliday to their plus-size division, Curves. They declared that Holliday had become the largest plus-size model of her size and height to be signed to a mainstream modeling agency,[4] and the first Curve model above a size 20.[20] In May, she had her first agency shoot.[21]

In March 2014, Holliday became the first model over size 18 to model Monif Clarke's clothing line after she was hired as the face of the latest campaign for her swimwear line Sea by Monif C - a line that is specifically designed for women sizes 14–24.[citation needed] In the same month, she modeled for Torrid.[22][23][24] She also collaborated with the plus size clothing retailer Yours Clothing for the second time when she was officially announced as the face of their high summer campaign.[25][26] In May 2015, she was featured on the cover of People.[27]

In September 2015, Holliday starred in H&M's sustainable fashion campaign alongside singer Iggy Pop, artist Daniel Lismore, sex blogger Karley Sciortino and blogger Pardeep Singh Bahra.[28] In the same month, she starred in Addition Elle's fall 2015 capsule collection campaign.[29][30] In the same month, she also confirmed that she was in the process of designing her own clothing line.[31] In November of the same year, she was involved in a fashion shoot for Marie Claire UK's December 2015 issue.[32]

In January 2016, Canadian plus size retailer Penningtons announced that the brand has partnered with Holliday to release a capsule collection bearing her name under their mblm label.[33]


Holliday also self-describes as a "body positive activist".[17] She embraces the word 'fat' and advocates that people should be able to eat as much and whatever they want without suffering from social ostracism.[5] In 2013, she started her #effyourbeautystandards movement on Instagram. Holliday claims the movement shows women that they do not have to be a certain size to love their body (big or small) and that their size should not dictate their fashion choices.[34][35] Since February 2015,[36] Holliday has employed a team of six social media specialists to help manage her message across the world.[31][37] She has said that the movement has led to women letting her know that they now feel good about how they look and wear what they like.[38] She also talks at public events about body confidence.[39]

In February 2014, Holliday appeared on Channel 4 News.[40] In April 2015, she was interviewed by Meredith Vieira on The Meredith Vieira Show.[41] In the same month, she appeared on Plus Sized Wars, a Channel 4 documentary about changing beauty standards[42] and explores the fast-growing plus-size fashion industry.[43]

In August 2015, Holliday demanded a boycott of Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr accounts under the name 'Project Harpoon', which photoshopped her image and images of other women including Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy to make them appear slimmer without authorization.[44] In September 2015, she criticized Victoria's Secret for their limited amount of plus-size clothing options.[45][46][47]

In a January 2016 interview with Paper,[48] Holliday stated that she embraces the term "plus-size" and disagrees with other people's rejection of it.[49][50] She discussed how she does see how the term as negative[51] or derogatory and thought the term is 'very important' for larger women to have their own labels.[52]


In late 2014, Holliday began producing a series of T-shirts with the phrase, "Eff Your Beauty Standards", with some of the proceeds being donated to an organization that helps survivors of domestic violence.[53] In December, approximately 140 orders failed to deliver to customers, though about 3000 orders were successful.[54] A post on Reddit accused her of withholding money promised to charity, as well as not delivering her products.[55]

In December 2015, Holliday told Refinery29 that the project was launched with "pure intentions" and "My mother and I are both victims of DV." She said, "The idea that I would willfully defraud the people who have supported me along the way, and a charity that touches on my own family's struggles, is so upsetting."[53] Holliday admits that she did not know how to handle the logistics of the project,[53] was unable to keep up with orders, and takes responsibility for some customers not receiving the merchandise they paid for.[55] "The system we were using just didn't work," she said, attributing missing merchandise to "one big batch that was lost by the post office" and "usual business discrepancies". She was unable to make the charity donation after paying "thousands and thousands of dollars" out of pocket to a shipping and distribution center to ensure issues with merchandise would be resolved, which "ate up what little [was] left of the profits". She said, adding that she has given a "substantial contribution" to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.[53] In January 2016, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's Development Manager Dina Coates Koebler confirmed, "A donation in the amount of $1,000 was made to our organization on 12/13/2015 by Ms. Hoven."[54]

Personal lifeEdit

At the age of 20, Holliday gave birth to her son Rylee. In June 2015, The Guardian reported she no longer had any contact with her son's father.[5]

In 2012, Holliday met Australian businessman, photographer and artist[56] Nick Holliday on Tumblr. They talked online for seven months before Holliday traveled to the U.S. to visit,[56] and in April 2015,[57] he moved from Melbourne to the U.S.[5] On July 5, 2014, they got engaged. They secretly wed one year later on July 5, 2015.[citation needed] In January 2016, it was announced that Holliday was pregnant and expected to give birth in June.[58] Holliday gave birth to her second son in June 2016. She and Nick Holliday have since divorced.[59]

She was born Ryann Hoven but changed her name to Tess Munster (a surname she chose because she liked the television sitcom The Munsters) when she started doing alternative modeling and has also used the name Tess Typhoon.[60] In January 2015, she adopted and officially started using her fiancé's surname.[4]

In 2019, Holliday came out as pansexual.[61][62] In 2021, Holliday claimed she was in recovery from anorexia.[63]

Holliday claims she is 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm) tall and that she wears a US dress size 22 or 3x.[4][64] She is heavily tattooed, including a Miss Piggy tattoo on her right outer forearm, a Mae West tattoo on her right inner forearm, a Marilyn Monroe tattoo on her left bicep, a plus-size mermaid tattoo on her right upper thigh, a Hello Kitty tattoo on her right calf and a Dolly Parton tattoo on her right arm.[17][65] She also has a septum piercing.[53]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rekstis, Emily (July 6, 2020). "Tess Holliday Poses in a String Bikini to Celebrate Her 35th Birthday". Us Magazine. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  2. ^ Ogunnaike, Nikki (May 20, 2015). "Plus-Size Model Tess Holliday Lands a People Cover: 5 Things to Know About Her". Glamour Fashion. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  3. ^ Boone, John (May 20, 2015). "Everything You Need to Know About Tess Holliday, the Size 22 model". ETonline. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gabel, Pearl (January 24, 2015). "Plus-size model Tess Holliday busts out of stereotype". Daily News. New York. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Tess Holliday: 'Never seen a fat girl in her underwear before?'". The Guardian. June 6, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Holliday, Tess (July 7, 2015). "Size-22 model: Why I love my body and want other women to love theirs". Today. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Limarie (March 1, 2013). "Body Activism w/ Tess Munster & Honor Curves (Part 1)". Daily Venus Diva. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Chanel-Faiteau, Chardline (May 29, 2013). "Tess Munster- Retro Chic". Chardline. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  9. ^ Ferrier, Morwenna (April 15, 2015). "Agency signs up the first size-24 model: 'I was never tempted to lose weight'". The Guardian. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e Young, Danielle (March 12, 2012). "Tess is More: An Interview With Plus Model Tess Munster". Plus Model Magazine. p. 1. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "How I became a model". Tess Munster. September 15, 2013. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  12. ^ "Tess Munster". Model Mayhem. October 16, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Tess is More: An Interview With Plus Model Tess Munster". Bake and Destroy. March 12, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  14. ^ Young, Danielle (March 12, 2012). "Tess is More: An Interview With Plus Model Tess Munster". Plus Model Magazine. p. 2. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  15. ^ "Tess Munster I Am Plus". Reah Norman. March 2010. p. 10. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  16. ^ Olya, Gabrielle (January 27, 2015). "Tess Holliday, Size-22 Model, Is First to Score a Major Modeling Contract". People. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  17. ^ a b c Weingarten, Rachel (February 28, 2014). "Plus-Size Model Tess Munster Talks Cardigans, Her Style Evolution, and 'Fat' as a Trigger Word". Parade. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  18. ^ Bahadur, Nina (May 8, 2014). "This Video Proves That Every Body Is '***Flawless'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  19. ^ Cruz, Marcy (September 16, 2014). "Tess Munster Talks The Term 'Plus Size' On TakePart Live: 'If it wasn't for that term, I wouldn't know where to shop". Plus Model Magazine. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  20. ^ Chapin, Adele (January 23, 2015). "Size 20 Model and Blogger Tess Munster Lands Major Contract". Racked. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  21. ^ Sieczkowski, Cavan (May 5, 2015). "Plus-Size Model Tess Holliday Debuts First Agency Shoot, And It's Stunning". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  22. ^ Adlman, Nicole (March 4, 2015). "Size-22 Model Tess Holliday Gets Flirty in Photo Shoot With Torrid—Go Behind the Scenes!". Us Weekly. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  23. ^ Melby, Leah (March 4, 2015). "Model Tess Holliday's New Ad Campaigns Are Out—See the Pictures Here!". Glamour. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  24. ^ Layne, Jodie (April 27, 2014). "Tess Holliday For Plus Size Retailer Yours Clothing Editorial Is Released And She Looks Smoking Hot". Bustle. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  25. ^ Savva, Jayne (April 23, 2015). "See size 22 model Tess Holliday rocking it in Yours Clothing summer campaign". Irish Examiner. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  26. ^ Taft, Victoria (April 26, 2015). "She Was Told She Was Too Big To Be a Model. Now She's the First Woman of Her Size to Get a Contract". Independent Journal Review. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  27. ^ Fowler, Tara (May 21, 2015). "Tess Holliday Cried When She Saw Herself on the Cover of PEOPLE: 'It Was Definitely a 'Wildest Dreams' Moment for Me'". People. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  28. ^ Chung, Madelyn (September 4, 2015). "Tess Holliday Stars In H&M's Sustainable Fashion Campaign". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  29. ^ Chung, Madelyn (September 2, 2015). "Tess Holliday Stars In Addition Elle's Decadent Folk Collection Campaign". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  30. ^ Penn, Stephanie (September 23, 2013). "Addition Elle Launches New Fall Capsule Collection Starring Plus-Size Model Tess Holliday". Daily Venus Diva. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  31. ^ a b Cherrington, Rosy (September 28, 2015). "Tess Holliday Interview: Plus Size Model On Body Confidence, Naked Photos And Her Upcoming Clothing Line". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  32. ^ Cherrington, Rosy (November 6, 2015). "Tess Holliday Looks Stunning In New Marie Claire Shoot, But Reveals Trolls Still Call Her 'Disgusting'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  33. ^ Cruz, Marcy (January 25, 2016). "Have You Heard? Plus Model Tess Holliday to Launch New Collection With Penningtons". Plus Model Magazine. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  34. ^ Penn, Stephanie (October 1, 2013). "2013 October Cover Model: Tess Munster". Daily Venus Diva. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  35. ^ Penn, Stephanie (August 22, 2013). "Plus Size Model & Activist, Tess Munster Shares The Dark Side Of Modeling". Daily Venus Diva. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  36. ^ Saul, Heather (February 2, 2016). "Tess Holliday: The supermodel leading the plus size fashion revolution". The Independent. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  37. ^ Silvers, Isabella (September 28, 2015). "Plus Size Model Tess Holliday Talks Modelling, Men And Her ASOS Obsession". InStyle. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  38. ^ Holliday, Tess (May 20, 2015). "My Plus-Sized Life: Tess Holliday on Challenging Perceptions of Beauty". People. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  39. ^ Jones, Alison (November 13, 2014). "Tess Munster, an American champion for curvy girls, will be appearing at Yours Clothing in Birmingham to talk about body confidence". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  40. ^ "Tess Holliday - the plus size model redefining beauty?". Channel 4 News. February 4, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  41. ^ "tess holliday interview". The Meredith Vieira Show. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  42. ^ Jones, Ellen E (April 21, 2015). "Plus Sized Wars, Channel 4 - TV review: Drop-dead gorgeous size 24-model Tess shows that big really is beautiful". The Independent. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  43. ^ Savva, Jayne (April 21, 2015). "Is this the most dangerous fashion trend ever?". Best Daily. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  44. ^ Saul, Heather (August 21, 2015). "Project Harpoon: Plus size model Tess Holliday demands users boycott Facebook and Instagram accounts fat-shaming women". The Independent. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  45. ^ "Tess Holliday Explains Why Victoria's Secret Needs To Get In On The Billion Dollar Plus Size Industry". MTV News. September 10, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  46. ^ Silven, Kirsten (September 12, 2015). "Does Victoria's Secret Exclude Plus-Size Women? Tess Holliday Thinks So". The Inquisitr News. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  47. ^ Nicholas, Noelle (September 14, 2015). "Victoria's Secret Continues To Ignore Plus Size Consumers". The Inquisitr News. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  48. ^ Song, Sandra (January 25, 2016). "Tess Holliday Dispels Industry Myths And Looks Damn Good Doing It". Paper. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  49. ^ Milligan, Lauren (January 27, 2016). "Tess Holliday: Why I'm Happy To Be Called "Plus Size"". Vogue. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  50. ^ Torgerson, Rachel (January 27, 2016). "Tess Holliday Takes a Stand in the Plus-Size Versus Curvy Debate". Us Weekly. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  51. ^ Markovinovic, Monika (January 27, 2016). "Tess Holliday Continues To Advocate The Term 'Plus-Size'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  52. ^ "Tess Holliday is pregnant". Sunday World. Dublin. January 26, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  53. ^ a b c d e Ilyashov, Alexandra (December 15, 2015). "Tess Holliday Breaks Her Silence On T-Shirt Controversy". Refinery29. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  54. ^ a b Ospina, Marie Southard (January 4, 2016). "Tess Holliday Apologizes For The Eff Your Beauty Standards T-Shirt Controversy". Bustle. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  55. ^ a b Olya, Gabrielle (December 16, 2015). "Tess Holliday Responds to Accusations of Scamming People Who Bought Her Branded Merchandise". People. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  56. ^ a b Clarke, Jenna (June 21, 2015). "The Goss: How an Aussie man stole the heart of the world's biggest model". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  57. ^ Holliday, Tess (December 24, 2015). "Size-22 model: Why I love my body and want other women to love theirs". Today. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  58. ^ Olya, Gabrielle (January 27, 2015). "Model Tess Holliday pregnant: 'I'm having to relearn a lot'". People. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  59. ^ Pasquini, Maria (February 1, 2021). "Tess Holliday Says Marriage to Ex Was 'Abusive': 'Healing Is So Much Harder Than I Imagined'". People. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  60. ^ Olya, Gabrielle (May 21, 2015). "6 Things to Know About Plus-Size Fashion Star Tess Holliday". Time. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  61. ^ "Tess Holliday Comes Out as Pansexual: 'A Lot of Stuff in My Life Now Makes Sense'".
  62. ^ "Tess On The Beach: July 2019 Cover Profile Of Tess Holliday". NYLON. June 21, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  63. ^ Elan, Priya (May 5, 2021). "Model Tess Holliday reveals she's recovering from anorexia".
  64. ^ Holliday, Tess. "Tess Holliday FAQ". Tess Holiday on Tumblr. Tumblr. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  65. ^ Weisman, Aly (March 5, 2015). "Meet the tattooed, size 22 model taking over the fashion industry". Business Insider. Retrieved June 1, 2015.

External linksEdit