Plus-size model Tess Holliday proudly showed off her size 22 bikini body on Instagram while modeling swimsuits created by fashion designer Monif Clarke.
Holliday, whose real name is Tess Munster, said Clarke’s bikinis make her feel sexy and confident. Designer Monif who’s herself a size 16, launched her plus-size swimsuit line 10 years ago after being unable to find any cute bikinis for larger women.
These days, more designers are making clothes to accommodate this growing demographic, as a record 27.7 percent of Americans are now obese.
At 5-foot-5 and 260 pounds, the size-22 Holliday is the largest plus-size model in history, and said she’s proud to break the stereotype that heavy women have no interest in fashion.
Not surprisingly, Tess’ full figure has ignited controversy, with critics arguing that glamorizing plus-size models is promoting obesity.
Holliday: ‘You Can Be Fat and Happy’
But Tess dismisses her haters, saying she wants to empower overweight women to unapologetically embrace their curves. “I want to empower girls in a different way,” Holliday told Slink.
Tess, whose motto is #effyourbeautystandards, said despite what people may think, she’s not unhappy because she’s overweight.
“People assume that fat people live miserable lives, that being my size is a death sentence,” said Holliday, 29. “I think people need to be taught that when you get past a size 16 you still have sex, you have sex a lot, and you have healthy relationships. You live your life, have fun.”
Meanwhile, singer Kelly Clarkson was recently fat-shamed by British journalist Katie Hopkins, who said overweight people are kidding themselves when they claim to be happy.
In 2014, Hopkins intentionally gained and lost 50 pounds to “prove fat people are lazy.” Katie said overweight people have a victim mentality and are a burden on society because they’re a financial drain on the healthcare system.
Hopkins, 39, slammed Kelly Clarkson on Twitter, saying the singer should lose the baby weight she gained last year. Clarkson, who gave birth in June 2014, has not lost all her baby weight yet, but said that’s not her primary concern right now.
Katie, a mom of three, tweeted the following weight bullying insults: “Look chubsters, Kelly Clarkson had a baby a year ago,” Hopkins tweeted. “That is no longer baby weight. That is carrot cake weight.”
In previous months, Katie wrote, “What happened to Kelly Clarkson? Did she eat all of her backing singers? Happily I have wide-screen.”
Another inflammatory insult was: “Darling, if you had a baby a year ago, that is not baby weight. It is fat. Quit calling it cute names to make yourself feel better.”
Clarkson, who has battled weight much of her life, said she no longer cares what anyone has to say about her body or weight, especially since becoming a mother. “I’ve just never cared what people think,” said Kelly. “And more so now, since having a family, I don’t seek out any other acceptance.”
Clarkson added: “She’s tweeted something nasty about me? That’s because she doesn’t know me. I’m awesome! It doesn’t bother me. It’s a free world. Say what you will.”