When Tess went on her first audition in Atlanta, she was told that she was too short and too big to become a model. So, what did she do? She went on to become a model, anyway - and just this month, MiLK Model Management announced that she'd been signed to their agency.
"I feel like it's breaking ground. This is a milestone," the 29-year-old told the New York Daily News. "I never could have imagined that I could be here."
She was actually discovered by the agency's owner on Instagram, where she has over 330,000 followers and posts photos of herself modeling swimwear, lingerie and other designer clothes and often includes inspiring captions, like this one, which accompanied the photo below: "I hope this makes you realize that it's okay to be yourself, even if you happen to exist in a fat body."
She also started the #effyourbeautystandards campaign, a body positive movement which is pretty much self-explanatory, not to mention brilliant.
Despite all of her success, Tess admits that the early rejection and critical comments definitely left their mark in her mind. "It doesn't feel like it's me. Every time I have a big thing happen in my career, it's an out of body experience," she explained . "I'm always still that 13-year-old girl in Mississippi who people told I wasn't good enough. I never could have imagined that I could be here."
We can't imagine what a tough road it must have been, but we give her huge props for beating the odds and showing the industry that there is SO much more to beauty than a body type.