Tess Holliday - Big, Beautiful and Inked!


From Humble Beginnings!

Tess was born in Laurel, Mississippi in 1985, however she claims the family moved forty times before she even turned 10-years-old. Saying that Tess (born Ryann Maeghan Hoven) had a rough childhood would be an understatement.

In June 1995, her mother was paralyzed and disabled after she was shot twice in the head by her fiancé, who was charged with attempted murder. Holliday and her brother moved to their grandparents' house in Mississippi while their mother recovered.

Holliday was bullied from fifth grade on because of her weight, pale skin, having a disabled mother and because they lived in a trailer behind her grandparents' house. After receiving death threats holiday finally decided to leave high school - she later earned her GED.

From there on in Tess never looked back!


 Photo via instagram

Size 16

Photo via instagram

At the age of 15, while she was a US size 16 and only 5 feet 3 inches tall, Holliday auditioned at a casting call for plus models in Atlanta, Georgia.


Photo via instagram

Holliday relocated to Seattle where she where for two years she worked as a make-up artist, head make-up artist, hair stylist and creative director at fashion shows.

Hurricane Katrina

Photo via instagram

At age 20 she decided to move back to Mississippi and gave birth to her son. Hurricane Katrina then hit and she went back to Seattle. Moving frequently was something Tess was accustomed to. Here her then boyfriend took some photos of Tess and posted them on Model Mayhem. Time to move again!

Los Angeles

Photo via instagram

While working as a receptionist at a Los Angeles dental office she became a professional model. She responded to 'House of Dreams Model Search' by Torrid and was accepted.

Quit Your Day Job

Photo via instagram

In 2014, Holliday quit her day job at the dental office to pursue a full-time modeling career. In May 2014, a video was uploaded on Vimeo called #everyBODYisflawless, which featured Holliday and fellow plus-size fashion bloggers and models Gabi Gregg and Nadia Aboulhosn lip-synching and dancing to Beyoncé's 2013 song "Flawless".


Photo via instagram

In January 2015, London-based modeling agency Milk Model Management announced that they had signed Holliday to their plus-size division, Curves. They declared that Holliday had become the largest plus-size model of her size and height to be signed to a mainstream modeling agency, and the first Curve model above a size 20. In May, she had her first agency shoot.

Iggy Pop

Photo via instagram

In September 2015, Holliday starred in H&M's sustainable fashion campaign alongside singer Iggy Pop, artist Daniel Lismore, sex blogger Karley Sciortino and blogger Pardeep Singh Bahra.

Her Own Clothing Line

Photo via instagram

In January 2016, Canadian plus size retailer Penningtons announced that the brand has partnered with Holliday to release a capsule collection bearing her name under their mblm label.