Size 24 Model Tess Munster, from Mississippi USA, has broken into an industry where being large is far from the norm. The 29 year old took the Instagram world by storm a few years back when she posted photos of her size 24 physique in an assortment of clothing and lingerie. As of now, Munster, also known as Tess Holliday, has 406,000 Instagram followers and 660,000 Facebook fans.
After becoming famous on Instagram Munster got signed by Milk Model Management in the UK, who have also signed fellow plus size models Robyn Lawley, Fiona Falkiner and Candice Huffine. She currently models for Jessica Louise Clothing, 222 Clothing, Vintage Box 1947 and Black Cat Bikinis, amongst many others. Munster has also featured in a number of magazines including Vogue Italia, Inked, Bizarre and Plus Model.
Standing at 5ft6inches, Munster dropped out of High School because the taunting she received about her weight from other classmates became too severe. You would think that the now model would be resentful towards all the individuals who made her High School experience so unpleasant. However, she has said she just wishes they could share a similar level of body confidence to what she now possesses, so they wouldn’t feel the need to be critical of other peoples’ outward appearances to make themselves feel better. In 2013, Munster started the hashtag campaign #effyourbeautystandards after receiving criticism on Instagram. This hashtag has been shared 65,000 times on Instagram alone and has brought the model into the headlines.
Munsters’ modelling career only took off a few years back however she has made it plain that it was always something she had dreamed of doing and is something she has once pursued without success. Before modelling, Munster had a career in Make Up Artistry, which she still dabbles with now, in a pursuit to give women confidence about their appearance. On her “fastshion” blog Munster says “Just because I’m not a size 12 doesn’t mean I have any less of a life to live, I’m a big girl and I have a big life to live”.
There have been mixed opinions on whether portraying someone who is a size 24 as a role model is a good or bad thing. It is some peoples’ opinion that placing size 24 models on a pedestal within the media is wrong as it is believed that it will encourage obesity within societies where around a third of the population are already classed as obese. Michael Luciano from the Daily Banter supports this side of the argument. In an article he wrote about the size 24 model he says: “When it comes to obesity, there’s obviously great sensitivity and immense pressure to ignore the health concerns that so accompany it while we all nod in agreement that there’s nothing wrong with being obese. But there is, and to pretend otherwise is a detriment to the very people such self-censorship is designed to protect.” Luciano has a very valid point that by idolising models whose bodies represent the other extreme leads to overeating being promoted rather than a healthy balanced diet. However, Munster has a large number of fans that do agree with the message that she has sent to the world by redefining the “beauty” standards that have been set for many years. Instagram user, @gfwb24 commented on one of Munsters’ photographs saying, “You are perfection! Because when I look to your photos I can see a woman full of confidence and this is the perfection that every woman want[s] to reach one day”. I think it is fair to say that Tess Munster will be dividing the worlds’ opinions as she continues to grace the pages of magazines and be a prominent figure on social media.