It is with a heavy heart that I have to end my love affair with one of my (once) favourite body positive role models: Ms. Tess Holliday.
For quite a few of you this will be a complete shock. I’ve made very public declarations of love and adoration for this woman, even dedicating entire blog posts to her, like this one
However some information has come to light that I cannot ignore anymore.
Tess Holliday has scammed hundreds of fans and stolen from charity.
In 2014 Tess Designed Eff Your Beauty Standards T-Shirts and put them on Pre-Sale for $40. No, that is not a typo, $40 for a T-Shirt. Tess was able to justify this high cost because proceeds from these shirts were going to benefit a domestic violence charity and because she was using ethically sourced materials to make these T-shirts. However hundreds of her fans never recieved a T-shirt or “EYBS” merchandise and until December of 2015 not a cent was donated to charity. When fans questioned Tess about their orders she continually fobbed them off with explanations until she eventually stopped responding and started blocking.
I was aware of the T-Shirts going on sale and I wanted one but I couldn’t justify spending that much on a tee. When the story started to break about missing merchandise- I wanted to write it off and explain it away. It was just “Haters”, people that were looking for any reason to take Tess down. Let’s be honest there are plenty of people out there who would hate to see a fat girl succeed. However the complaints increased and then I found 2 facebook groups: EffYourCensorship and EffYourCustomerService.
In these groups women spoke openly about their interactions with Tess and discussed openly that this was not her first charity related transgression. These accusations were backed up by screen shots proving that the model has been scamming her fans for quite a while and making money from them whilst not being forthright and honest.
Refinery 29 then collaborated on an article with Tess in which she attempts to explain what happened with the T-shirts and ends the article by saying
“Why as women do we constantly pit ourselves against one another?” she asks. “What could we achieve if we stopped being so quick to judge and started giving other women the benefit of the doubt, and support them through their struggles?”
And not one mention of an apology in this article. Now I don’t know about you but if I was linked to a scandal that meant people had lost out on money and merch I would be apologizing all day long and working my ass off to ensure that it was rectified. That’s ever before we get into making it good with the charity I promised money to! But that’s just me and how I would handle my business.
Truth be told, it’s taken me an age to get the courage up to write this article. Why? Because I feel like I’ve lost my mentor. This is the woman who encouraged me to love my body. The woman who helped me be braver in my fashion choices, embrace my flaws and hold a middle finger up to those who threw shade. I was in mourning. If I didn’t have Tess who did I have?
Then a member of one of these groups pointed out something to me that I hadn’t thought of before.
Tess Holliday didn’t give me shit!
Everything I have done, changed & embraced I have done by myself. Tess didn’t shower me with compliments on my new crop top, she didn’t “like” my selfies, she didn’t offer me styling or confidence advice. She didn’t do anything. All of that was me! Every last bit of it!
It was my bravery, my confidence, my self love and my radical thinking that helped shaped my vision of myself. While Tess was off bragging about earning her 6 figures and jetting around the world.
So guess what? I don’t want to be like Tess. I want to be myself. Because myself won’t steal from charity, lie about my size, make racist remarks, or lie about how photos hop was used by myself or others in my photos.
I will always think that Tess is a gorgeous woman and much love to her for blazing the trail for fat chicks but she isn’t the only one and I can’t wait to see how many more plus babes take their rightful place in the spotlight.
For More Information from people who know better check out these links:
Tess Holliday – Whats Good? (Video)
Tess Holliday Got Snatched (Video)
I’m not buying Tess (Video)
Tess Holliday’s Racist Remarks (Video)