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Model and body-positive activist Tess Holliday comes out as pansexual

Model and body-positive activist Tess Holliday comes out as pansexual

Model Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday, a model and body-positive activist from the US, came out as pansexual in a recent interview.

As the cover model for Nylon’s July issue, Holliday sat down with the magazine and opened up about her sexuality — with a funny story about a recent trip she took to Mexico.

She recalled she was sitting at the pool’s hotel bar when a waiter came up to her and said: ‘Are you bi?’

‘I said, “Thank you so much for asking. I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship to my own queerness, and I think the word pansexual speaks to me more than bi does.”‘ Holliday responded candidly to the waiter.

While it turns out the waiter was simply asking the model if she was buying, it allowed her a moment to share her thoughts.

‘I feel like a lot of stuff in my life now makes sense. A lot of the things that I felt when I was younger make sense. A lot of the relationships that I had make sense,’ she added to the magazine.

Pansexuality is the attraction to people regardless of their sex or gender.

The term topped Merriam-Webster’s search last year after Janelle Monáe came out as pan last year.

Who is Tess Holliday?

Holliday, 33, was born in Mississippi, and faced a childhood full of hardships. She’s previously opened up about being bullied at school for her weight and pale skin, her mother having a disability, and living in a trailer.

Her father, meanwhile, allegedly verbally abused her for her body, while her mother encouraged her to pursue modeling. She hasn’t spoken to her father since 2013.

After not landing any modeling opportunities in Atlanta and elsewhere, she moved to Los Angeles in 2010.

She landed her first professional modeling job with Torried and then became the face of A&E’s documentary Heavy. Four years later, she was able to quit her job as a dental office receptionist and pursue modeling full-time.

Since then, she’s appeared on several magazine covers and pursued body-positive activism, such as embracing the term ‘plus-size’.

A ‘sense of relief’ for the model

Now that she’s come out, she feels a ‘sense of relief’.

A couple days ago, she made a post about Pride on Instagram.

In it, she wrote: ‘I’ve always been an ally for the LGBTQ community & I find myself trying to navigate my own sexual identity. I’m still figuring out how I identify and that’s okay because everyone’s journey is different.’

With the publication of Nylon’s article on Monday (1 July), however, that has changed.

‘I can connect with people on a more intimate level than I was before because I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not,’ she said.

See also

A black, trans, disabled model just landed her first magazine cover

Society’s expectations of bisexuality and disabilities isn’t stopping this model

Pansexual people explain what their sexuality means