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Most Famous Plus-Size Models

Written By: Ashley Hernandez

Tess Holliday


Ryann Hoven, better known as Tess Holliday is an American plus-size model, blogger and make-up artist based in Los Angeles. Tess Holliday was born and raised in Mississippi. Tess has stated her family moved more than 40 times before she turned the age of 10. In June of 1995, her mother was paralyzed and disabled after being shot in the head twice by her fiance. After this horrific incident, Tess, her brother, and her mother moved back to Mississippi to live with Tess’ grandparents. 


Tess’ early years were hard for her. She was bullied from fifth grade on for her weight, her pale skin, for having a disabled mother and for living in a trailer behind her grandmother's house. Tess dropped out of school at age 17 and got her GED. 


Tess’ inspiration for modeling came from her mother, who was always supportive of her natural beauty and encouraged her to pursue modeling. Tess relocated to Seattle where she worked as a make-up artist, hair stylist and creative director at fashion shows. In 2010 she Moved to Los Angeles. In 2011 Tess Holliday responded to a “House of Dreams” model search where she was accepted. During this time A&E chose Tess to be the face of a documentary series called Heavy. 


In 2013, Tess launched an instagram hashtag called #effyourbeautystandards. She aimed this as a protest against beauty standards around the world and hoped to inspire body positivity. Tess has since remained a large face in the plus size fashion movement and a clear advocate on body acceptance and positivity. 


Tess has been featured in Cosmopolitan, H&M campaigns, as well as landed features in Vogue, Marie Claire, and Nylon Magazines. Tess has walked during London Fashion Week, and has walked in New York Fashion Week for a high fashion brand called Chromat.

Ashley Graham


Ashley Graham Ervin is an American plus-size model and television presenter. WHie growing up she was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia. In 2000 she was identified by the I&I Agency while shopping at a mall in Nabraska.


Ashley Graham started modeling at the age of 12. In 2001 she was signed to Wilhelmina Models. In 2003, Ashley switched and signed to Ford Models. Ashley Graham has become one of the most successful and well known plus-size models in the world. She has achieved international success and has been on the covers of American Vogue, Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Glamour. She has walked the runway for many high fashion brands such as DOlce and Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Fendi and more. Ashley Graham's wild success and popularity has exceeded far more than just runway shows and magazine covers. She has done many collaborations, been featured in music videos and tv shows, as well as, hosted many television episodes. 


Ashley Graham has been a prominent face of the body positivity movement and the Health at Every Size movement. In 2017 Ashley released a book called “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like”. In her book, Ashley provides insight to her life experience as a plus size model, shares her prospects for the evolution of beauty and body image as well as advocates for body positivity throughout. Ashley has also given a TED talk advocating for self acceptance with regards to body image and beauty. 


In 2016, Ashley Graham became the first plus sized model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. In 2017 she appeared on the cover of Vogue, becoming the first plus-size model to appear on the magazine. 


Ashley continues to use her platform as a tool to talk about body acceptance and appreciation. She wants to be an inspiration to others and help change the lives of all ages of women and men. 

Ashley has stated she does not prefer the term “plus-size”. She believes this term puts these people into a category. 


“Even if the fashion industry may persist to label me as “plus-size”, I will continue to label me as “my size.” 

Barbie Linhares Ferreira


Barbie Ferreira is a Brazilian-American model and actress. Ferreira began her career by sending modeling photos to an American Apparel open casting call. She has since modeled for brands such as Aerie, Adidas, Asos, H&M, Forever 21, Target and more. Her acting credits include Euphoria where she stars as Kat Hernandez, Divorce and Unpregnant. 


Barbie has always been passionate about the body positivity movement as well as very active on speaking on these topics regularly. She uses her platform to champion body diversity, acceptance and pushes back on body shamers. 

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