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Last year, one of my favorite websites featured my fiancé and me in a story about couples who began as friends. I posted the photo to my In...

Tess Holliday’s Health Is None of Your Business

Last year, one of my favorite websites featured my fiancé and me in a story about couples who began as friends. I posted the photo to my Instagram feed, and one of the first comments referred to both of our midsections as “round” and questioned whether or not we were healthy.

In the weeks and months leading up to that Instagram comment, I had been in the midst of my own personal body acceptance revolution. I had even divulged to a friend that I was beginning to look in the mirror and see someone beautiful looking back. After that Instagram comment, I sent that same friend a message about how I felt like I was spiraling back into old harmful and inaccurate thought patterns about my body and myself. Because of my size (a US 18), even when someone sees me standing next to the love of my life, smiling, full of joy and excitement, all they see is the size of my stomach. Because of my weight, they don’t see my happiness.

In response, my friend messaged me a link to Tess Holliday’s Instagram page.

Tess Holliday is a plus-size model, published author, and well known figure in the body positivity community. She’s responsible for the viral hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards, which she created after strangers left cruel comments on her own Instagram account. I think about the exchange with my friend as I wait to meet Holliday in front of the gates to Disneyland on a sunny afternoon in late May. It had been Holliday's suggestion to do our interview here; she says that everyone she’s ever taken to Disneyland has a good time.

She hugs me when she arrives. “I’m so sorry I’m late!” she says. “I’m never like this. I hate being late.” I’m not upset. I’m at Disneyland.

More than beautiful, Holliday looks fascinating. Her hair is a bright shade of red, with warm undertones and understated highlights that make it gleam. It reminds me of Jessica Rabbit’s hair, but with better conditioner. Through the mesh of her nearly all-black athleisure sweatsuit, I can see her arms covered in large, ornate tattoos.

Holliday has come to Disneyland with family and friends in tow, including her husband, artist Nick Holliday, her friend, the actor Liv Hewson, and her publicist. The plan is for us to sit down for an interview before spending some time together wandering around Adventureland. Her kids will be joining her later. But first, after some quick introductions, we enter the park and immediately make our way toward what Holliday assures me will be some truly fantastic fried chicken at Plaza Inn, right off Disney’s main street. She’s right—the chicken is amazing.

There’s a certain type of internet commenter that any fat woman on social media is undoubtedly familiar with: The concern troll. If you are a fat woman with the unmitigated gall to present yourself as happy or beautiful, concern trolls will tell you that you are not healthy and should focus on losing weight. They will also often accuse you of “glorifying obesity” for not publicly hating or castigating yourself for existing while not thin. Of course, these folks don’t know how healthy you are or aren’t. But they are determined to “help” you. Yeah. Right.

As we settle into our seats at the restaurant, I ask about an exchange I’d witnessed just the other day on her Instagram page, where she currently has 1.5 million followers. In predictable concern troll fashion, a man had commented on one of Holliday’s Instagram posts about how unhealthy she must be because of her weight. She had re-posted his comments with a surprising response. Holliday doesn’t usually clap back on individuals this way. But something about this guy must have especially pissed her off.

“I think it frustrates me that so many people have bought into the idea of what we should look like instead of actually giving a crap about everyone around you,” she says. “People should mind their own business.”

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