Tess Holliday has been working in the fashion industry for almost a decade, and her resume bears this out: The model made history in 2015 as the first size 22 model to be signed to a major agency, and she’s also the inventor of the hashtag Eff Your Beauty Standards, which has since blossomed into an Instagram account with 423,000 followers.
The multi-hyphenate is now tackling the metaverse. As part of its Metaverse Culture Series, Meta recently gathered leaders from underrepresented communities to discuss the future of technology for historically excluded individuals. Celebrity stylist Law Roach, ballroom icon Leiomy, and WNBA champion Renee Montgomery were on the panel alongside Dr. David J. Johns, the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition.
On this page, Bustle has an interview with Tess Holliday about the future of fashion and her own identity as an obese, queer, transgender, and femme.
When it comes to metaverse fashion, what do you believe is possible?
The fact that I’ve been in the fashion industry for 13 years and I still can’t find someone to outfit me for events, despite my name and my stylist, makes me excited about fashion in the metaverse. For people with larger bodies, this is a new frontier. More possibilities are available to us now. What do I mean? Tess Holliday at my adorable attire; it was all taken care of for me.
What possibilities do you see now for luxury brands in terms of expanding their size ranges?
If it’s accessible, I’d appreciate it. Many people are unable to afford or wear high-end clothes because of their size. It would be thrilling if, for the first time, those who have never had access to high-end designers could don their creations and appreciate their quality. I know some people think fashion is just a waste of time or a waste of money, but for me, fashion has altered my life and the lives of so many others who thought they couldn’t express themselves the way they felt on the inside.
We want to know your thoughts on how the metaverse will handle the junction of the plus-size and the queer communities.
This is what I find most fascinating about the metaverse: the ability to dress up and not have to worry about your own physical appearance. Existing in your body and dressing it in whichever way makes you happy is all that matters. If you’re transgender or a person of color, you’re more likely to face a backlash for doing so in the real world. A place where we can freely express ourselves in any way we desire is a wonderful thing.
As a queer obese woman, how do you approach fashion and how do you utilize it to express yourself?
Queer femme women have never had a lot of representation in the media. As a high femme, people instinctively think that those of us who look like us are straight since we adore glamour and live for it. There’s a lot of erasure of folks who are bisexual.
Because there isn’t as much representation for queer women, I didn’t realize for a long time that I was queer because I didn’t think I could be. My newfound freedom is a huge source of satisfaction. I don’t have to explain myself in terms of how the LBGT community is viewed by society. It’s been thrilling to know that I don’t have to compromise who I am in order to be accepted by others.
What signals do you give when you choose to publicly indicate that you identify as queer?
I’m not sure if I’m doing it on purpose, but someone recently informed me that I don’t give off the straight feel. I’m not sure why people assume I’m not, but my long nails aren’t helping me. I do have numerous tattoos of women.
With a Quest 2 headset, you can now enter Dream House in Horizon Worlds. This interview has been trimmed and shortened for the sake of brevity and accuracy.
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