What's been your biggest challenge in the industry? I haven’t really found many challenges in the industry to be honest. I know that I’m so different than anyone else out there right now, and the clients that hire me know that, and they accept and embrace it just as I have learned to.
How do you feel about being held up as poster-girl - literally - for plus size women? Geez, it’s so strange to hear that! I know that I am, but it’s just unbelievable sometimes. For me, it’s such an honor to have so many people looking up to you, that I just do my best to always be the person my mother raised me to be. There are so many bad examples out there right now, and I never want to be one of those.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? I see a confident, quirky, beautiful woman who is finding her place in this world like everyone else.
You have off days though, right? How do you deal? Like everyone, I have my bad days. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I feel sorry for myself, sometimes I wish I “fit in”, but those moments don’t last long. I have a great circle of very strong women around me that I can always lean on. They know exactly what to say to snap me out of it. My son also always keeps a smile on my face, and he certainly doesn’t care if I look like everyone else, he just loves me, and the joy that brings is immeasurable.
What's been your proudest moment? I have so many moments that all meant something different to me. I would say personally, it’s the birth of my son. Professionally, it’s a tie! Seeing my billboard for Heavy on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood was life changing, I finally could call myself a professional model and hold my head high. Second, it was modeling for Domino Dollhouse. I never thought that I would have the chance to model clothes because everyone else had turned me down because of my size… but not Domino Dollhouse. I love representing women who normally don’t have face in fashion!
What is your favourite bygone era and why? Ooooo this is a tough one! I love to mix and match my eras! I will say the 50’s because of the dresses, hair and makeup - it was all so fun! The war was over, so the ration on fabric was no more, and they were able to get away from the plain style of the 40s, and start having fun with big circle skirts, etc. I also really love the 20’s because of the glamour and timeless beauty that my favorite silent stars portrayed.
G-friend, your style rocks - who are your style icons? Peg Bundy, Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, Minnie Mouse, Elvira, & Jean Harlow.
Can women really have it all? I would like to think so, but unfortunately the more successful I have become the more I have realized that it’s tough. I think it’s crucial to find a balance early on so you make sure you aren’t driving yourself, and the people around you, nuts! Currently I’m trying to find a balance, and I’m a hopeless romantic, so I will continue to wish for it all.
What and who makes you jump in the air happy? My son will always be what makes me the happiest, he's the best! Other little things that make me super happy: receiving a letter from a fan thanking me for helping them, baking cookies or cupcakes for no reason at all, new lingerie, and sunshine!
What's the best advice you've ever been given? As my grandma says 'Kill ‘em with kindness!'
What's your life motto? To always keep an open mind and heart, regardless of my circumstances. I honor the past, and where life has taken me, but I always keep my eyes focused forward to the new journeys that await me.
If you had a super-power what would it be? To be able to read minds… but sometimes I think I already can!
Quick fire round - what's your favourite: Book: If you Give a Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff Food: Curry Movie: Amelie Lipstick: Pink Noveau or Lady Danger by MAC Song: Dear Heart by Murder City Devils Quote: 'Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.' –Lucille Ball Place to hang: Tiki Ti (Bar in Hollywood), Bigfoot Lodge (Bar in Hollywood), & Magnolia St in Burbank for the Vintage shopping Website: it's coming! Tessismore.com…stay tuned!
What does the term 'sassy' mean to you? Being carefree and full of spunk! Kind of like giving a big middle finger to society-while dressed head to toe in glitter, pink, and hello kitty!
What's next in the world o' Miss Tess? Launching my website, traveling overseas to speak to women about my journey of self love, Modeling for some major clothing companies, and spending time with my li'l guy! As for anything else, we will see! I'm keeping my mind open...I feel the best is yet to come!