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On Thursday, the model made a video in response to the commenter, who wrote, “I’ve been following really big fat ppl so I could see how others see me. Was so grossed out, I lost over 150 pounds so far.”
Speaking from her bed, Holliday replied, “Unfortunately, that is all happening in a bubble. You are seeking out content of larger bodied individuals as a way to make yourself feel better. Which is kind of a weird thing to do in general, especially when I can guarantee you a lot of the larger bodied individuals you're following have happy, full lives, not despite them being fat — they just are. They just exist.”
The activist shared that as one of the early faces of the fat liberation movement, she’s used to being people’s “before” photo — but that hasn’t stopped her from living a joyous life.
“The reality is that I've gotten fatter over the years, my weight has fluctuated. But the one thing that I have maintained through all of this is my joy. And I am fatter right now than I've been in a while, but I'm also happier,” she noted. “There's so many people that have been commenting lately saying that they can see my joy radiating. And that's how other people see me, they see the joy. Yeah, some people are going to see the fat and not pay attention to the joy, and if you're putting out into the world that you are grossed out by yourself, then more than likely, that's how you're going to be perceived.”
She acknowledged that not everyone treats fat people kindly, but that she refuses to “shrink myself and be something that I am not in order to make people happy and comfortable.”
“So, you know, glad you can use fat folks as inspiration for you not being fat,” she concluded. “But I would really check the inside, on your journey to thinness, because I can guarantee that is not going to bring you the happiness that you're looking for. And heaven forbid you gain all that weight back. What are you going to do then?”
Holliday's followers loved the video. One wrote in the comments section, "Let’s normalize not equating our self-worth to something as superficial as weight! It’s 2022 for Christ’s sake. I LOVE you Tess and your message." Another shared, "I look to larger-bodied people to remind me that my happiness is not based on my size. Happiness is from loving yourself no matter what."
This is not the first time Holliday has clapped back at her critics by asking them to acknowledge their anti-fat bias. In an April Instagram post, she responded to a commenter who claimed she made everything about her size.
"I don't 'make everything about my size,'" Holliday wrote in her caption. "Society does. I can live in this body and be happy, right up until I step into society’s eyes. When I talk about how my life is impacted negatively simply by existing in this body, the media often writes about it as me going on a 'rant.'”
In September 2021, she hit back at a tabloid that published photos of her snacking at Disneyland — something, she wrote in an Instagram caption, would be considered “cute” if a smaller-bodied celebrity was doing.
“When the media shares photos of me through the lens of their fat-phobic assumptions, they tell everyone who looks like me that they are worthless,” she continued. “When they create a breeding ground for body-shaming comments, they create a swamp where hatred of others and of ourselves can grow. It’s just not productive — if we want to live in a better, kinder world, we need to reject this kind of harmful behavior.”
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