She’s famous for proudly flaunting her curvaceous figure, bold dress sense and collection of colourful tattoos on social media. But as Tess Holliday poses for a collection of arty black and white images, the 29-year-old is turning her attention away from being an internet phenomena to shaking up our ideas of beauty. [contentblock id=1 img=adsense.png]
Pin-up Tess, who lives in Los Angeles, is passionate about enforcing the notion that there is ‘no one way to be a woman or beautiful’. After years of being turned away from castings, size 26 (US size 22) Tess was snapped up by London-based MiLK modelling agency in January – making her the first fuller-figured supermodel to land such a deal.
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A far cry from the waif-like frames we have come to see as the norm on runways and in glossy magazine adverts, Tess oozes confidence as showcases her famous curvy body in her debut agency shoot. She hopes the images will challenge the perceived beauty standards. ‘I think if someone doesn’t look at an image and feel something, you haven’t done your job,’ she said.[contentblock id=2 img=adsense.png]
‘Whether it’s a negative or positive, it should evoke something in them. ‘That’s what I’ve always done with my work, I want to challenge society’s perception of “beauty” and what’s acceptable in our industry and the world. ‘There is no one way to be a woman, or to be beautiful. We all deserve a place.’
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In her first agency shoot Tess, who is famed for wearing outlandish patterns and vibrant colours, is uncharacteristically stripped back. She dons a simple black t-shirt and a pair of plain black briefs as she poses with her hands on her hip, throws her head back and stares moodily into the camera. The paired-back vibe of the shoot, however, doesn’t detract from Tess’ confidence.[contentblock id=3 img=adsense.png]In another shot she can be seen giggling as her as her famous auburn hair is coiffed into gentle waves and swept to the side. Her intricate body art can be seen in its full glory as she turns to the side and shows off the inkings on her arm. Speaking about the shoot, Tess, who at 5ft 4in tall and 18st 5Ibs (250Ibs) doesn’t conform to industry sample sizes, said she has now stepped ‘out of my comfort zone’.
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‘I feel like since signing to MiLK it’s challenged everything I thought I knew about modelling.. In the best way,’ she said. ‘I push myself so much harder and really step out of my comfort zone, and you can see that with these images. ‘My life has changed in the best way and I feel like the best is yet to come.’ Tess has also posed for head shots that focus in on her glossy red hair, Sixties-style eye make-up and striking nose ring.Anna Shillinglaw, Managing Director of MiLk Management, said of the shoot: ‘In a world of fashion diversity and evolution, these images show that beauty can come in any size – Tess is a model regardless of being a size 2 or 24. ‘These pictures show the world why I took her on as a model at MiLK – because she is a beautiful girl and she is selling the product she models.’