It's been widely reported in the press that a Modelling Agency in London has signed Tess Holliday, a well regarded blogger and 'plus size' model based in the USA. What makes Tess unique in the modelling world however is that she is 5'5" and dress size 22, making her both shorter and larger than the standard plus size model working in the industry.
Now don't get me wrong - I am 100% behind the message that Tess sends out. She is a massive presence online in making people reevaluate beauty standards and she's a gorgeous girl. There are however two things that bug me about this whole story. Firstly, I don't agree with how the press are suggesting that Tess has somehow 'made it' because a model agency has decided she is now worthy of being called a model. The fact of the matter is that she still was a model before she was signed and will she still will be should she leave them.
Secondly, the whole thing smacks of tokenism and a PR stunt. Again I'm not knocking Tess at all but I can assure you that size 22 won't suddenly become the new norm in plus size modelling. Every so often something like this happens in the modelling world and someone makes a statement but in reality the industry never really deviates much from the status quo.
If Tess Holliday didn't have close to half a million followers on Instagram or hadn't already worked on numerous campaigns without representation I don't think that an agency would have been so keen to sign her. Likewise it will be much easier for her to find work because she can straddle that line between model and personality; she has a massive online following and can bring that to a brand that books her. I don't want to sound cruel but if Tess was a complete unknown who just wandered into the agency off the street I honestly don't think they would have looked at her twice.
So well done to Tess and her agency for stepping out of the industries comfort zone and making people reevaluate what it is to be a model but when the dust settles and the press move on to the next 'shock' story in the modelling world plus size models will still be conform to the same standards they always did.