Tess Holliday On Sex, Confidence, & Taking Back The Word "Fat"

Photo: J. Kempin/Getty Images.
Tess Holliday is fat, and she has no problem calling herself that. The model and body positivity hero opened up to People in a recent interview about why she reclaims the word for herself, what she thinks of people who believe fat women never have sex, and how she learned to be confident in her body.
Holliday touches on each subject in her new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl, which is where the conversation about calling herself fat (it's right there in the title) started.
“Well, look, I’m fat. There’s no shocker there," Holliday told People. "It’s how I describe myself. It’s a descriptor; it’s an adjective."
Part of the reason she put it in the title of her book is because even with how strong the body positivity movement has become, "fat" is still shocking for some people to hear. And the fact that fat women can be at peace with and feel sexy in their bodies even more so.
“I thought why not have fun with it, why not shock people," Holliday said. "It’s kind of what I’ve been about. And hopefully make people laugh and help people.”
As she said, Holliday is no stranger to shocking people into thinking differently about fat women. She did it again in a recent Instagram photo of herself wearing sheer underwear and nothing else. "Fat people have sex. A lot of it. And it's really fucking good," she wrote alongside the photo.
When People brought up the photo and Holliday's quote, which is pulled directly from her book, she reiterated that yes, many fat people are having great sex despite the culturally-held idea that fat people are not sexually attractive.
"People think that if you’re fat or plus size, we’re not getting it like everybody else, and we are," she said. "We just want to feel sexy and seen, and it’s good that people hopefully listen."
Part of feeling sexy and seen as a plus size women begins with confidence, and Holliday addressed that, too. In a pep talk to her younger self, she landed on some golden advice that anyone on a body positive journey needs to hear: "Just keep working on it."
It's important to remember, of course, that not every plus size woman has yet built the kind of confidence Holliday oozes, and while fat people are absolutely sexy, not everyone is okay using the word "fat" to describe themselves — even some who are extremely confident in her bodies.
For some, the word isn't just a descriptor. It's a word that has been used against them their whole lives and likely holds deeply hurtful memories. So before you proudly exclaim someone to be "fat and fabulous," make sure they would call themselves that, too.
Read these stories next:

More from Trends

R29 Original Series