Tess Holliday Calls Out Victoria's Secret For Its Lack of Plus-Size Options: 'There's This Feeling That Fat Girls Aren't Supposed to Feel Sexy'
"To have the biggest lingerie retailer in the world carry plus-size lingerie would be a huge step in the right direction," says Tess Holliday
Like any woman, Tess Holliday wants to feel sexy in her lingerie. But as a size-22 woman, she says her options are limited.
The plus-size model, 30, thinks it’s time for major lingerie retailers like Victoria’s Secret to start carrying larger sizes in their stores.
“Growing up in Mississippi, I definitely remember Victoria’s Secret being a huge part of my teenage mall experience, but I couldn’t really fit into any of the underwear,” she told MTV News. “Whenever I do stop in, it’s mostly with my friends – not all of my friends are plus-size – but I’ve never actually worn anything from there. I’ve never been able to.”
Holliday adds that she believes the plus-size industry is worth billions of dollars, and that Victoria’s Secret is ignoring this market intentionally – even if it means losing business.
“There’s a certain image that Victoria’s Secret upholds for this ‘perfect body,’ and if they were to branch out and have plus-size women, it might – in their eyes – ruin that business and branding goal,” she says. “But I think to have the biggest lingerie retailer in the world carry plus-size lingerie would be a huge step in the right direction and an accomplishment, not just for the industry, but for women in general.”
Holliday – who often posts lingerie shots on her Instagram account – half-jokingly made an offer to Victoria’s Secret to be their first plus-size Angel last month after hearing they were thinking of adding one to their roster.
“I don’t know if I was necessarily being serious about telling VS to call me, but if they ever did add a plus-size model [ ] I’m sure the same thing would happen to them that did to me,” she says. “Some people would think it’s great, some people would say it’s changing the industry, and then, you would have people who think it’s gross and think that we should be covered up.”
However, if the lingerie retailer did offer her a chance to wear the coveted Angel wings, Holliday says she wouldn’t turn down the opportunity.
“Of course I’d do it – as long as it wasn’t a publicity stunt,” she says. “I’d want to make sure that they were offering the opportunity to a bunch of different plus-size models and not just me to get attention, [and] that they were making the move to broaden their customer base and celebrate different body types.”
Regardless of whether Victoria’s Secret decides to one day include plus sizes in their offerings, Holliday believes there needs to be a major revamp of the industry to really shift attitudes about plus-size women.
“The bottom line is that there’s this pervasive feeling that fat girls aren’t supposed to feel sexy, and that needs to change,” she says. “It’s something plus-size women are constantly messaged – either overtly or subconsciously – and that shows in a lack of options for lingerie.”
She continues, “It all ladders back up to giving women a choice of doing what we want with our bodies, regardless of our size, and making it normal to see plus-size women in lingerie on TV, on billboards, and on Instagram is a great place to start.”
Victoria’s Secret did not respond to request for comment.