(CNN) — Tess Munster didn’t just snag headlines and a new gig in the wake of becoming the first model of her size to sign with a major agency; she also inspired the Internet.
Munster, who wants to be known professionally as Tess Holliday (she is engaged to photographer Nick Holliday), is 5 feet 5 inches tall and a size 22. The recent announcement that she had been signed to the London-based MiLK Model Management drew attention to effyourbeautystandards, an Instagram account she started in 2013 for women to celebrate their bodies and unique looks.
“I feel like it’s breaking ground,” the model told the New York Daily News of her contract. “This is a milestone.”
The Instagram account has more than 70,000 followers, and after the announcement of her deal, praise and support poured in on social media.
— Niveda 🎈🤡 (@n1veda) January 27, 2015
— Amena (@Fashionopolis) January 27, 2015
In announcing her deal on its blog, Plus Model magazine wrote, “We’re excited to see where this will lead for Tess and for diversity overall in the industry.”
The industry standard for professional plus-size models usually wears a U.S. size 8 to 16 and stands at least 5 feet 8 inches tall.
MiLk Model Management owner and director Anna Shillinglaw told the Daily News that despite the positivity surrounding Munster’s career, “I see a lot of negative comments as well, and I ignore those. I know she’s healthy and active.”
“We’re all built differently,” said Shillinglaw, who found the model on Instagram. “Maybe people can lose weight if they walked more and ate less, but it’s so easy to say that. Everyone has their things in life.”
Holliday said the success is like an “out-of-body experience” for her.
“I’m always still that 13-year-old girl in Mississippi who people told I wasn’t good enough.” she said. “I never could have imagined that I could be here.”