Tess Holliday was recently signed to a modeling contract by MiLK Model Management in the U.K.
According to The Independent, the 29 year old from Laurel, Mississippi, has posted numerous pictures of herself on Instagram where she has nearly 400,000 followers. She has over 624,000 followers on Facebook.
Holliday also started the "#EffYourBeautyStandards" campaign, which she uses to help overweight women feel good about themselves and hit back against critics. Holliday has appeared in Vogue Italia, and modeled for fashion designers.
MiLK Model Management announced the signing of the obese model on its Instagram page, "Super excited to announce we're now representing Tess Holliday, plus-size model/blogger."
"I feel like it's breaking ground. This is a milestone," Holliday told the New York Daily News. "I never could have imagined that I could be here."
Anna Shillinglaw, owner and director of MiLK Model Management, added, "I think we're the only agency with a model of her size. She is by far the largest model I have in the [Curves] division. I started following her, and saw how many followers she had [on Instagram] more than most models. She's such an important role model for so many women."
Holliday got her big break in 2011 when she was cast on the A&E reality TV show “Heavy” whose producers saw her pictures on the Model Mayhem web site. That TV show led to modeling assignments.
Holliday, who lives in Los Angeles, claims that she works out four times a week, has a personal trainer and engages in swimming, hiking and walking.
"I know she's healthy and active," added Shillinglaw. "We're all built differently. She goes hiking, she's in love, she has a son, she has a gorgeous husband. Maybe people can lose weight if they walked more and ate less, but it's so easy to say that. Everyone has their things in life.”
“I understand not everyone understands what I’m about, but to me it’s such a simple concept. It’s all about loving your body regardless of your size and chasing your dreams," Holliday told the Huffington Post UK. “Everybody deserves to be happy, but for some reason the fact that I happen to be plus size and happy seems to bother people. It’s odd really.”
However, Holliday's messages on Instagram have been more antagonistic, "I hope this makes you realize that it's okay to be yourself, even if you happen to exist in a fat body. I'm sexy, confident & give no f-----. Also, f--- anyone for saying otherwise."
ABC News reports that a study, originally published in the medical journal The Lancet, found that obesity increases the chances of gallbladder, kidney, liver, and colon cancers. Additionally, 41 percent of uterine cancers were linked to obesity.
The BBC notes that obesity is also linked to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, gallstones, stress, anxiety, depression and infertility.