'If I saw a body like mine when I was young, it would have changed my life' - Tess Holliday on her Cosmo cover
Plus-size model Tess Holliday has issued a powerful statement encouraging self acceptance after landing a history making Cosmopolitan cover.
The size 26 activist features on the UK edition of the magazine in a green swimsuit, tattoos on display, as she confidently blows a kiss to the camera, in a shot which has been widely lauded around the world for its inclusivity.
She said she hopes her appearance in the magazine inspires other women, in particular younger girls, who are struggling with their body image.
"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," she wrote on Instagram.
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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
Holliday previously featured on the cover of People magazine in 2015 when she burst onto the scene, but this marks her first starring appearance in a glossy magazine.
Holliday is the creator of the #effyourbeautystandards Instagram campaign, which she says aims to challenge the belief that overweight people cannot be attractive.
Speaking to Cosmopolitan, she said: “I created (the campaign) out of frustration. I was angry and sad that people kept commenting on my pictures saying ‘You’re too fat to wear that!’ or ‘Cover up! No-one wants to see that!’
“And then one night I was lying in bed and thought’F*** that!’ So I posted an image with four photographs of myself wearing things that fat women are often told we ‘can’t wear’, and encouraged others to do the same.”
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Sunday was #womensequalityday & I’m grateful to not only be my own boss, but to be able to empower a team of women who help me everyday to be the best I can be, and to spread our message of self love. . . I remember the exact moment I decided to make the leap to being self employed. My boss was taking his 3rd vacation that year, and although he’d definitely worked hard - so had I - and I hadn’t been given an opportunity to even have one. . I was privileged to be in a position to make that work - but all of us have the power to change not only our own life, but the lives of women around you. Stand up for the welfare of your fellow women - the immigrants, the LGBT, the people of color. Less than 100 years ago women couldn’t even vote - don’t waste your opportunity to be counted on the right side of history. Outfit is @modcloth 💕✨ 📷 @iloveuhoneybunny Glam @hisvintagetouch @shablamgela #modclothsquad #effyourbeautystandards #ad
Meanwhile, Piers Morgan has lambasted the cover as "dangerous and misguided" and accused the publication of promoting obesity.
"As Britain battles an ever-worsening obesity crisis, this is the new cover of Cosmo," he said.
“Apparently we’re supposed to view it as a ‘huge step forward for body positivity’. What a load of old baloney.
“This cover is just as dangerous and misguided as celebrating size zero models.”
Holliday was quick to hit back at the criticism, saying: "To everyone saying I’m a burden to the British health care system, I’m american so you don’t have to worry about my fat ass.
“Worry about what horrible people you are by whining about how me being on the cover of a glossy magazine impacts your small minded life."