Tess Holliday, size 22 model and all-around stunner, just landed her first major magazine cover. She’ll appear on the June 1 issue of People; look for her on a newsstand near you.

Holliday also shared her story with the magazine. When she found the traditional avenues to a modeling career blocked, she turned to the Internet and took a DIY approach:

After leaving school, I went to many discouraging auditions where I was told I was too short (5-foot-5) and too fat (size 22) to be a model. Thanks to the power of the Internet, I was able to create my own destiny. I started posting photos of myself in my underwear, then in bathing suits and other clothes that I liked but weren’t considered suitable for large and curvy women. Soon I was on my way. My photos led to real jobs.

She’s amassed 707,000 Instagram followers—in no small part because it’s so rare for those of us who’re plus-sized to see models who look all that much like us—and when you’ve got that sort of reach, brands pay attention. She signed with MILK Management back in January, and she’s done campaigns with Torrid and Benefit. Check the full cover. Kris Jenner—to the left.


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.