Model Tess Holliday says the fashion industry is falling behind on body acceptance.
In an clip from the documentary, Straight/Curve: Redefining Body Image, Holliday says, “The fact that people are so offended by the notion that plus-size and fat women deserve a place in the world and that we deserve happiness is a huge reason why things haven’t changed and it’s a huge reason why the fashion industry isn’t quite catching up.”
Continues the 31-year-old, “We’re told that we’re not allowed to feel sexy and that we aren’t going to find people that love us and that we can’t wear certain things unless we look a certain way.”
Holliday calls out that when “98 percent of the world [is] telling you that you don’t deserve those things because of how you look, then some of that starts to stick.”
Straight/Curve, directed and produced by Jenny McQuaile and now available to watch on EPIX.com, features fashion editors, designers, agents, stylists, models and more who are pioneers in their industries talking about why they’re pushing for a more inclusive view of what’s beautiful.
McQuaile tells PEOPLE that Holliday’s interviews in the film are among her “favorite,” and “vitally important.”
“Tess represents a huge proportion of women in our society who are often overlooked,” she explains. “They are told they are not worthy of appearing on camera or having their picture taken. As Tess tells us in the film; women who are considered larger than what society deems acceptable are even told they don’t deserve happiness or love.”
McQuaile wonders, “How on earth have we gotten to a place where this is the messaging we are sending out to society and our next generation?”
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She hopes to change that stigma with Straight/Curve, and calls Holliday an “imperative” part of that.
“A lot of people are offended by Tess’ role in the fashion industry and I think this is outrageous,” she says. “Tess is a full-time model, her career choice and her health status are of no business to anyone else apart from Tess. She is an inspiration to many and I think that is what we should be focusing on.”
She adds that Holliday’s appearance even inspired a score change – the documentary’s composer, Gil Talmi, made the model’s musical theme “bad a–, strong, feminine, beautiful, but resilient.”
“Tess’s theme is the only rock music in the whole film,” she says.
Straight/Curve: Redefining Body Image is available to stream now on a free trail on EPIX.com.