is the largest plus-size model to sign a major modeling contract – something that no one but Holliday and her mother believed could ever happen.
Holliday is a size 22 and grew up in rural Mississippi. Despite significant discouragement from bullies and naysayers, Holliday has made it big in the modeling industry and has recently signed a contract with MiLK Model Management.
What is the reason for Holliday’s success? Apart from the fact that she has a very pretty face, the reality is that she refused to accept the standard definition of a beautiful body type. Her goal has been to empower women of all sizes because she believes fashion is much more than what we see.
This does not mean that it has been an easy ride for Holliday. Because of her weight, she was bullied in school daily and had to drop out for the same reason. Despite this treatment, Holliday does not hold any grudge against the people who bullied and tortured her.
“It’s so tough to feel like your voice isn’t out there. There are so many messages in the media that say it’s all about being slender, about having your hair a certain way, or wearing your makeup a certain way,” Holliday said. “We’re just tired of being silenced. We want change from the media and society in general.”
Holliday does admit that she feels like an ugly duckling most days but it is her determination that has given her success. She was driven by the need to prove people wrong because most of them put her down by telling her that couldn’t do it. It is this determination and self-confidence that Holliday wants to spread to women across the globe.
For this purpose, Holliday initiated a campaign in 2013 called #effyourbeautystandards (EYBS). The movement was launched to encourage women of all shapes and sizes to post their photos on Instagram and to embrace their body type, no matter what it may be.
Holliday wants to let women know that they do not need to listen to the typical messages rampant in the media that say women need to be slender, that they have to style their hair or wear their makeup in a certain way. The media and the society both need to change and Holliday is a perfect example that such a change is indeed possible.
Her campaign has been a great success. More than a million and half photos have been uploaded on Instagram with the EYBS hashtag. The campaign now has a full-scale team comprising of social media experts, mental health counselor, body image counselor and an eating disorder survivor. The proceeds from merchandise sold through the campaign go to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, something close to Holliday’s heart since both herself and her mother are survivors of abuse.
Holliday’s message to her audience is clear. Nobody’s body is perfect. Everybody wants to change something about themselves and when that is not possible, it’s best to accept who you are and realize that you’re beautiful, no matter what. Her message is not just for women who are plus size but women of all body types.
Holliday wants women everywhere to love themselves and to be confident about how they look and feel. The goal is to celebrate one’s body and to realize that nobody can make you feel worse about yourself if you love yourself first.