A plus-size model who was bullied so badly she was forced to drop out of school has been signed by a major modeling agency.
Tess Munster is 5’5” tall, a UK size 24 and is now officially on the books of London-based MiLK Model Management.
According to Plus Model Magazine, Tess is the first plus size model of her size and height to be signed to an agency. (The New York Daily News points out plus-size models tend to be taller than 5’8” and between sizes 10 to 18.)
On the back of this, the 29-year-old has been named one of the world’s top plus size models by Refinery 29 and Vogue Italia.
She told Huffington Post UK securing her contract had been “mind-blowing” and yet simultaneously: “Very humbling. I knew it would be big, but it’s far exceeded anything I could have imagined.”
The mother-of-one who occasionally uses the surname of her fiancée Nick Holliday, is also behind the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards, which encourages women to celebrate their bodies and sticks two fingers up at standard beauty ideals.
Astonishingly Mississippi-born Tess, who experienced relentless bullying as a child and eventually left school at 17, is still on the receiving end of bile because of how she looks.
The mother-of-one who works out with a trainer four times a week, walks, swims and hikes, says she receives “sometimes hundreds” of negative comments on a daily basis.
She explained: “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.
“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.”
To those women who experience negative body image issues, Tess’s message is firm: “Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people who support you. It’s crucial to your happiness and well-being. Never compare yourself to others and celebrate what makes you, YOU.”
Blogging for Huffington Post in 2013, Tess wrote: