Social media has become a powerful platform to speak up about important issues, and Tess Holliday is certainly one of the most inspiring voices out there. The 34-year-old model and activist often gets refreshingly real on Instagram about the challenges of being a plus-size woman in the world. Her recent nude selfie sends an important message about choosing self-love, and fans are praising the model for her honestly.
Earlier this month, Holliday shared a close-up photo of her tummy and the side of her thigh, with her tattoos and body rolls on proudly displayed. In the caption, she opened up about her journey to self-acceptance. “It’s not easy to choose love towards a body that so many find ‘disgusting,’ & sometimes I wonder if that’s why so many of us spend so much time hating ourselves,” she wrote. “To radically love yourself is hard work, but my god it’s worth it.”
Holliday also recognized her body for all its abilities, including birthing her two sons, 14-year-old Rylee and three-year-old Bowie Juniper. “My body has served me well, it’s taught me things about myself, and others, that I didn’t think were possible. This beautiful body has carried two kids, survived so much abuse from others and from myself, and yet I’m still here.”
She ended by reflecting on the change she’s been able to make through her activism. “I’m fortunate to be able to use my body as a tool to connect with others on a more intimate level (& no I’m not talking about sexual intimacy),” she wrote. “To be able to share my stories and to keep going despite so many obstacles in my way, to be able to see beauty where others see none, that’s my gift. I chose myself, and I hope whoever is reading this can do the same. #effyourbeautystandards.”
Holliday is known for pioneering the #effyourbeautystandards hashtag, which encourages people to reject society’s definition of beauty and love themselves for who they are. In addition to her empowering posts, Holliday has also been a part of body positive campaigns like self-tanning brand Isle of Paradise’s recent launch that featured activists of all shapes and sizes, including Holliday.
Of course, anyone who puts themselves out there as much as Holliday does becomes susceptible to criticism, but she’s learned how to shake it off. In an interview with PopSugar earlier this year, she shared how she handles haters. “These people don’t know you,” she said. “They’re not paying your bills, and the best thing you can do is just to block it out and be kind to yourself, and I fully think that taking social media breaks is totally healthy and we should do it often.”