Tess Holliday wishes she loved herself “100 pounds ago”.
The 33-year-old star – who made history last year by becoming the first ever size 22 model to grace the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine – gets frustrated by people claiming she is “promoting obesity” but she insists she can’t live her life feeling “miserable” because of her size.
She said: “What makes me laugh the most? When people say I’m promoting obesity or recruiting people to be fat. If I say, ‘I love myself,’ and they think I’m saying, ‘Hey, you need to be 300 pounds, then you too could enjoy life as much as me,’ I have to smile. People act as if I’m selling Tupperware or something — that’s not how it works.
“I wish I would’ve loved myself 100 pounds ago, but this is the body I’m in. I can’t live life being miserable, because I could die tomorrow. And then what — I was miserable because I was fat? What a waste.”
And Tess “goes to therapy” to make “sense” of body-shaming trolls and she admitted that she regularly receives abusive messages on social media, which she talks over with her therapist because it can really “affect” her.
She told America’s InStyle magazine: “The other day I woke up to the following message on Instagram: ‘Your body image is unhealthy and dangerous. You’re a blimp trying to layer yourself in nice clothes and make-up. Can’t wait for you to drop dead of a heart attack.’ It ended with a smiley-face emoji.
“I receive messages like this every day — and have my entire life. I would be lying if I said they didn’t affect me. I go to therapy to try to make sense of it all. I will tell someone to f**k off if they deserve it, but I’d rather come from a place of compassion.
Tess sometimes “deletes” her social media accounts altogether if something is getting her in a “bad headspace”, and instead focus on her “self-care” folder.
She added: “When I’m in a bad headspace, I definitely mute people on social media who don’t make me feel great at the moment. And that’s OK. Who you follow is who you’re letting into your inner circle. It’s in your subconscious. It’s what you’re absorbing.
“Sometimes I delete social media from my phone altogether. Then I focus on my ‘self-care folder’ that has games like Cat Cafe, where you feed and pet little virtual cats. It’s silly, but it takes me away from the negativity.”