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Tess Munster: Modeling Against All Odds, 2/01/2011

Danielle: How did it balance out trying to be a model for Torrid at the same time you were coming into being the "Face of Heavy?"

Tess: I felt conflicted when I was doing Torrid and Heavy at the same time because I was doing photo shoot for Heavy, shooting the commercial and I was also trying to get the vote for Torrid. I was trying to have people support me for my size and I felt part of me was supposed to be ashamed for being overweight. With Heavy, in the shots, I was supposed to be somber but then they wanted me to say, "You can do this or you can be this." With Torrid, it's about embracing your size, loving how you look, the clothes you were and letting that show. I felt conflicted. I got a lot of really hurtful thing said to m by some Torrid fans because they didn't think I was big enough to be a Torrid model. I remember thinking, "I'm an 18/20 and I don't necessarily want to be!" [laughs] They would want to see their size of 26/28 and I told them that Torrid does pick real women. We're really plus sized and curvy. I always had a smaller face. Torrid had our headshots up there and I feel like it's funny that you would think that community was loving, but instead there was a lot of anger towards Torrid for not picking plus size models. They do! You want clothes to look a certain way, so you pick certain models with a look that will accentuate the clothes.

Danielle: So you're the "Face of Heavy" without actually being on the show?

Tess: Right. It's a show about morbidly obese people. I didn't know what the show was about. I didn't know what angle they were going in. I'm obviously proud to represent everyone on the show. I know some of them personally now by being the face of the show that changed their lives. I feel like a cheerleader. At the same time, it's hard for me because I'm not morbidly obese--although I am overweight, but I'm not at the point that they are. I don't have a health condition and I'm not going to die if I don't lose weight. I just happen to be curvy. I think that was messing with my head a bit. It's a job. Who would turn down a job to be the face of a television show? They're not doing it for money, they're doing it because if they don't, they'll die. I feel like they don't exploit them. The weight loss is ongoing.

Danielle: How do you feel about shows that concentrate on overweight people?

Tess: The casting director for Heavy works for the same production company that produces Biggest Loser. Before I knew that I had Heavy, she asked if I wanted to do Biggest Loser. I told her no. I thought about it and a lot of people still think I'm crazy. I don't think that weightloss should be a competition. It's almost embarrassing. Dance Your Ass Off and Huge bother me. I was really angry over what the Marie Claire columnist said about The Mike & Molly Show. I adore the actress that plays Molly. I'm a huge Gilmore Girls fan. She was the first real plus sized actress. When I saw her character, I thought it was fabulous that the whole time they were on, she stayed plus sized and didn't lose the weight. To hear the columnist say the horrible things she did about watching fat people make out, I was just livid. Just because I'm "fat," I can't make out with my boyfriend and people think I'm gross? I wish there was show where they represented women in a light that we really are--that we have a lot to say.  I don't think we all need to lose weight. It's not about being skinny, it's about being healthy.

Danielle: What do you have coming up next?

Tess: There's a couple more "fatshion" blogs that are featuring me, which is really cool. I meet a lot of people that way. Currently, I still do things I do before--I model hair accessories and things like that. I'm speaking with more plus size clothing lines. The biggest thing that I was contacted to do was audition for Vh1's The Big Girls Club. We'll see where that goes. It would be fantastic if I could represent us girls on there. I'm trying to see where it goes. It's all so new. I'm putting myself out there, so I'm hoping to work more and encourage women. I've had a lot of women who I never knew, but saw my picture and they contacted me through Facebook and they tell me that I'm an inspiration. It's crazy because I feel like just an average person and I'm getting emails from people telling me they look up to me because I'm not a size 2.

Follow Tess Munster





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