TIME People

Plus-Size Model Tess Holliday Is First to Score a Major Modeling Contract

Anthony Evans

"It's something that I've wanted my whole life"

Plus-size model Tess Holliday is the first woman of her size and height to score a contract with a prominent modeling agency.

“SOOO excited to announce we now represent #TessHolliday, plus-size model/blogger,” the U.K.-based MiLK Management announced on Twitter.

Holliday, who wears a size 22 and is 5’5″, calls what has happened a dream come true.

“It’s something that I’ve wanted my whole life, so to even think that it’s happened, it feels like an out-of-body experience,” the 29-year-old tells PEOPLE.

Holliday has already had success in the modeling world. She’s shot a campaign for Benefit Cosmetics, has worked with David LaChapelle on an upcoming project, and was featured in Vogue Italia. Some of her past projects can be seen on her Instagram.

“I’ve just kept doing this stuff recently, thinking, ‘Thank God I didn’t give up,’ ” says the Los Angeles-based Holliday, who had to overcome many detractors to get where she is today.

“I found out about plus-size modeling when I was 15, and I went to an audition in Atlanta. They told me that I was too short and I was too big, and I would never model. But I’m very hardheaded!”

She decided to post photos of herself on Model Mayhem, and things took off from there. It’s quite a leap from her beginnings in the small town of Laurel, Mississippi, where she says she was bullied relentlessly.

“I was getting shoved into lockers, I was being called names,” says Holliday, who is a mom to son Rilee, 9. “Modeling really helped my confidence because I started seeing myself in a different light. I started seeing myself like, ‘Wow, I’m actually pretty.’ ”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME People

Why Republicans Run in Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots are stylish. They give you a little extra height. And they're a good way of signifying that you "get" rural voters. Perhaps that's why they're so popular with Republican politicians.

TIME People

Twin 9-Year-Old Boys Left Basically Alone for Months

An empty playground is seen at an apartment complex, Jan. 22, 2015, in Manchester, N.H. where authorities say twin 9-year-old boys were left mostly alone for four months after their parents took three siblings to Nigeria and left an uncle to care for them.
An empty playground is seen at an apartment complex, Jan. 22, 2015, in Manchester, N.H. where authorities say twin 9-year-old boys were left mostly alone for four months after their parents took three siblings to Nigeria and left an uncle to care for them. Jim Cole—AP

The boys were left to fend for themselves while an uncle only checked in every few days

Twin 9-year-olds were left virtually on their own for four months in a Manchester, N.H. apartment where an uncle would only occasionally check in on them.

The boys’ parents and three siblings left for Nigeria in July with the intention of returning the next month, but were delayed, the Associated Press reports. In the mean time, their 25-year-old uncle, Giobari Atura, was supposed to stay with the boys. Instead, he says he checked in on them every few days.

Police finally became involved in November when the boys’ school alerted them that they’d been living alone, getting themselves up in the morning and taking the bus to eat breakfast and lunch at school. The only edible food found in the apartment was ramen.

The twins were initially placed in foster care, but have now been returned to their parents, who came back to the U.S. shortly after learning of the situation. While Atura was charged with endangering the welfare of a child in December, the parents will not be charged since they left their sons in the care of a relative.


Read next: Celiac Disease Among UK Kids Has Tripled

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Business

This Man Is Launching a $3 Million Startup to Catch Bigfoot

Bigfoot hunter Tom Biscardi holds a photo of what he claims to be the mouth and teeth of a deceased bigfoot or sasquatch creature during a news conference Friday, Aug. 15, 2008, in Palo Alto, Calif.
Bigfoot hunter Tom Biscardi holds a photo of what he claims to be the mouth and teeth of a deceased bigfoot or sasquatch creature during a news conference Friday, Aug. 15, 2008, in Palo Alto, Calif. Ben Margot—AP

The renowned Sasquatch hunter is looking to raise $3 million by selling stock in his company

We all have a dream. Carmine “Tom” Biscardi’s is to catch Bigfoot — and he’s hoping you’ll fund it.

Together with his partners, the renowned Sasquatch hunter is looking to raise $3 million by selling stock in his company, Bigfoot Project Investments, the Wall Street Journal reports.

His mission? To “capture the creature known as Bigfoot” according to the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But investors beware! This startup is not for the faint of heart.

“This would be the kind of thing where if you believed in Bigfoot, or you thought there really was a Bigfoot and you actually had some money to burn and wanted to play with this, then go for it,” investment guru Kathy Boyle told the Journal.

And Bigfoot purists themselves aren’t exactly thrilled with this venture, which they see “as the crass commercialization of a serious pursuit.”

Still, Biscardi isn’t worried. He maintains a “haters gonna hate” attitude: “When you’re king of the mountain, everybody’s trying to knock you down,” he told the Journal.

Strong words from a man who held a news conference in 2008 claiming he’d found the legendary beast — but it turned out to be a rubber gorilla costume.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME People

81-Year-Old Discovers His 61-Year-Old Son Through Long-Hidden Letter

The letter was from a woman claiming to be the mother of the son

Throughout his life, Tony Trapani wanted to have kids.

As might then be imagined, when he met his son for the first time on Monday – Trapani is now 81 – it was quite an experience.

Trapani was cleaning out his Grand Rapids, Michigan, home after his wife’s death when he came across a letter she’d hidden in a file cabinet. Sent in 1959, the letter was from a woman claiming to be the mother of Trapani’s son.

“I have a little boy,” the letter read. “He is five years old now. What I’m trying to say, Tony, is he is your son. He was born November 14, 1953.”

That little boy is Samuel Childress, now 61. Childress said that his mother told him she’d sent the letter to his father but gave up hope of ever hearing from him.

Trapani suspects his wife hid the letter because of their trouble conceiving a child. “Why my wife didn’t tell me,” he told Michigan’s Fox 17. “I don’t know. She wanted children. She couldn’t have any. She tried and tried.”

Childress, who grew up in Pennsylvania, said, “Just to know him now is so important to me. It’s going to fill that void.”

The family plans to have a paternity test performed to make sure of the results.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME People

Who Was American Sniper Chris Kyle?

In 2013, TIME looked back at the life of the Navy SEAL

This week, Chris Kyle is in the news because American Sniper, the new movie based on his memoir, has broken January box-office records and been nominated for a half-dozen Oscars. About two years ago, however, the late Navy SEAL made news for a much more tragic reason: on Feb. 2, 2013, he had been killed at a shooting range in Texas.

TIME’s Mark Thompson profiled the famous gunman shortly after, and the piece provides a slew of answers for any American Sniper viewers curious about the man behind the movie. Though his tale is now common knowledge, it’s not necessarily an easy story to wrap one’s mind around. Kyle was, as Thompson points out, a man of contradictions. He hated water, but joined the Navy; he didn’t want to glorify himself, but his memoir was a best-seller; he was an expert killer, but he also wanted to help people.

His mission in Iraq was simple: provide what the military calls overwatch protection so the Marines under his gaze could do their jobs without fear of insurgent ambushes. Kyle, who was credited with 160 confirmed kills, conceded he was in the right place at the right time to become perhaps the world’s greatest sniper. “I’m not the greatest shot there is,” he remarked. “I just happened to be the one that was put in there, got lucky enough to see plenty of combat and been able to take the shots.”

Unlike most troops, the goal of snipers is one shot, one kill. They work stealthily, often in pairs, one spotting for the other. “You just view these guys as the terrorists that they are,” he said. “So you’re not really viewing them as a person. They’re out there, they’re bad people, and you just take them out and you don’t think twice about it.”

But Kyle viewed the troops he served with as people—his people—and felt their pain when they went home less than whole. He resolved to do what he could to help.

Read the full story from the Feb. 18, 2013, issue of TIME: Killer. Healer. Victim.

TIME People

Millennials Will Overtake Baby Boomers to Become America’s Biggest Generation

Getty Images

And Generation X will overtake baby boomers by 2028

There’s a lot of them: 75 million total, in fact.

Millennials, or individuals born between 1981 and 1997, are set to become the most populous generation in the U.S. this year, eclipsing the baby boomer generation, according to newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau cited in a Pew Research Center report.

Baby boomers, or those born from 1946 to 1964, will drop into second place and then third place by 2028, when Generation X (those born between 1965 to 1980) will beat out baby boomers.

The 74.9 million people born as a result of a post-World War II population boom — hence the name baby boomers — are seeing their numbers decline through increasing mortality rates, while millennials are seeing an upsurge in their population from immigration, the Pew findings show.

Immigration projections estimate that millennials will top out at 81.1 million in 2036. By comparison, baby boomers reached their population zenith in 1999, when there were 78.8 million boomers.

[Pew Research Center]

TIME People

Virginia Governor Gives MLK Day Speech Fresh From Hospital With 7 Broken Ribs

Terry McAuliffe
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe gives his annual State of the Commonwealth address at the state capitol in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 14, 2015 Steve Helber—AP

There's no stopping him

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe suffered seven broken ribs after he was thrown from his horse over the Christmas holidays while on safari in Tanzania with his family.

McAuliffe was admitted to hospital in Virginia on Monday after doctors decided it was necessary to drain his chest cavity as fluid had built up around his lungs, the Stafford County Sun reports.

Regardless, the governor continued to work from his bed. And since his return from Africa, he had stuck to his regular work schedule, even managing to deliver an hour-long State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night despite his debilitating injuries.

Hours after he was discharged from hospital Monday, McAuliffe gave a speech to mark Martin Luther King Day in Norfolk, Va.

[Stafford County Sun]

TIME People

How ‘Tokyo Rose’ Was Convicted of Treason—And Then Pardoned

Tokyo Rose a Nationalist Chinese radio b
Tokyo Rose, a Nationalist Chinese radio broadcaster, at work John Dominis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Jan. 19, 1977: President Ford pardons Iva Toguri d’Aquino, the Japanese-American woman known as Tokyo Rose

Was Tokyo Rose a charming radio host or a vicious propagandist who committed treason from the DJ booth? Historians still haven’t settled the matter. She was convicted in 1949 but received an official pardon on this day, Jan. 19, in 1977, when the case for treason appeared less clear-cut than it had in the bitter years after World War II.

Iva Toguri d’Aquino was born in the U.S. to Japanese parents and, by all early accounts, she grew up as a devoted patriot. She earned a degree in zoology from UCLA in 1940 and had begun doing graduate work there when her life took a fateful turn. She visited Japan — either to visit a sick aunt or to study medicine, depending on whether you believed her account or the government’s — and became stuck there when war broke out.

The trouble began when she took a job as a wartime DJ for Radio Tokyo, playing popular, if sappy, American music, punctuated by banter that was either playfully entertaining or a deliberate attempt to undermine the morale of U.S. troops — again, depending on whose version you believe. Although she broadcast by the name of “Orphan Ann,” d’Aquino was more popularly known as “Tokyo Rose.”

The U.S. Army’s own analysis of her program found that it had never hurt morale — if anything, according to the FBI, it might have boosted soldiers’ spirits. But when the war ended and d’Aquino sought permission to return to the U.S., the public outcry was so strong, and so many soldiers reported memories of damning statements she’d made, that she was tried for treason and found guilty on one count, for “[speaking] into a microphone concerning the loss of ships,” per the FBI. She served just over six years of a 10-year sentence.

The key problem with her treason case is that the nickname “Tokyo Rose” may in fact have signified someone or something other than d’Aquino herself, according to Ann Elizabeth Pfau, the author of Miss Yourlovin: GIs, Gender, and Domesticity During World War II. It may have been the conflation of multiple English-speaking women on Japanese radio, some of whom were more subversive than others, or, Pfau asserts, it may have been entirely the invention of American servicemen who channeled their own fears and anger into the disembodied voice on the radio. Pfau writes:

Like all legends, Tokyo Rose has basis in historical fact. Toguri’s “Orphan Ann” segments were sandwiched between propaganda-tinged news, skits, and commentary. However, the bare facts of Japanese broadcasts do not account for the radio personality so many servicemen talked about, wrote about, and still remember. Rather, this legend was born of emotions, like anger, alienation, and anxiety — feelings about the war, the military, and American civilians that soldiers were otherwise unable or unwilling to acknowledge.

While one veteran testified that d’Aquino told American forces in Saipan that the island was heavily mined and they would be “blown sky high” unless they evacuated, the worst threat in the extant recordings and transcripts of her broadcasts was — per Pfau — that she would “ ‘creep up and annihilate them with [her] nail file’ while she ‘lull[ed] their senses’ with a Victor Herbert waltz, ‘Kiss Me Again.’ ”

Read a 1976 account of the petition for her pardon, here in TIME’s archives: By Any Other Name

Read a 1944 report on Tokyo Rose’s popularity among soldiers, here in TIME’s archives: By Any Other Name

TIME Civil Rights

The Atlanta World of Dr. Martin Luther King

Dr. King Addresses Meeting
Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a protest meeting in Atlanta in 1957 Robert W. Kelley—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Growing up, King’s middle-class background offered some insulation from brutalities of the Jim Crow system — but there were no guarantees

The Auburn Avenue neighborhood where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in January 1929 was both a spatial and human embodiment of Atlanta’s paradoxical reputation for both strict racial segregation and black economic success. Noted journalist and renowned apostle of the “New South,” Henry W. Grady, may have strained the credulity of his New York audience in 1886 when he insisted that he bore no resentment toward his beloved Atlanta’s arch-nemesis, General William Tecumseh Sherman, but Grady’s claim that “from the ashes he left us … we have raised a brave and beautiful city” was more than the idle boast of a shameless booster. Atlanta’s speedily restored railroad connections and postbellum emergence as the Southeast’s principal trade and transportation hub all but assured its magnetic allure. By 1900 it was home to 90,000 people, more than a third of whom were black. A bloody race riot in 1906 left at least a dozen and quite likely more black Atlantans dead, yet — with the city’s “Forward Atlanta,” crusade for economic growth proceeding apace — the city’s black population nonetheless continued to swell. It stood at 90,000 by the time King was born into a well-established black middle class of merchants, lawyers, educators (the city boasted six private black colleges well before 1900) and ministers, concentrated in the city’s West Side on and around Auburn Avenue, which a prominent resident once called “the richest Negro street in the world.”

If Atlanta had established a reputation as a relative mecca of upward mobility for black Georgians looking to better themselves materially, it had proved no less a font of opportunity for those of a more spiritual bent, including the infant King’s father and maternal grandfather, both of whom had been born into sharecropping families in nearby rural counties. Martin (né Michael) Luther King Sr. had arrived in Atlanta as an aspiring, though scarcely literate, young minister in 1918. His determined efforts to improve himself and his circumstances did not suffer in the least from his fortuitous marriage to Alberta Williams, whose own father’s meager rural origins had not prevented him from building his small congregation into the powerful Ebenezer Baptist Church, where, upon his death in 1931, he would be succeeded in the pulpit by his son-in-law. Growing up, the younger Martin’s solidly middle-class background offered some insulation from brutalities of the Jim Crow system, but there were no guarantees. Scarcely a year after King was born, Dennis Hubert, a sophomore at Morehouse College and also the son of a prominent black minister, was brutally murdered for allegedly insulting two young white women. For all this atrocity said about the limitations of middle-class standing for the city’s blacks, the young man’s white killers were arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison, an outcome highly unlikely, to say the least, in any rural county anywhere in the state at that point.

It was not surprising that a historian of that era found Atlanta “quite evidently not proud of Georgia” or that, across the state, all but a very few whites heartily reciprocated the sentiment. Indeed, this was the primary reason that Georgia’s overwhelming rural legislative majority had taken formal action in 1917 to quarantine the capital city’s insidious racial and political moderation. This was accomplished through the brazenly anti-urban artifice of the “county-unit” electoral system, which effectively guaranteed that the preferences of voters in Atlanta, population 270,000 in 1930, could be neutralized completely by those of voters in the state’s three smallest counties, which had a combined population of scarcely 10,000.

This was a situation tailor-made for a rustic, race-baiting demagogue like Eugene Talmadge. Peppering his speeches with the N word, stonewalling efforts to improve the schools, and reveling in the impotent rebukes of “them lying Atlanta newspapers,” Talmadge claimed the governorship for the first of four times in 1932.

For all he might have done to impede progress across the state as a whole, however, Talmadge’s impact on Atlanta itself was notably less severe. Despite the economic reversals of the Great Depression, the infusions of cash from a variety of New Deal programs had already paid off for Atlantans by the end of the 1930s, with a greatly expanded and modernized infrastructure and dramatic improvement in schools, hospitals and other public institutions. The overpowering urge to show the world that Atlanta was back and better than ever was more than apparent in December 1939 when the film version of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind premiered at the Loew’s Grand Theater. In keeping with the city’s now well-known penchant for self-promotion, PR-savvy Mayor William B. Hartsfield spared no exertion to assure a glittery Hollywood presence for the event including, of course, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and the film’s other white actors. Fearing repercussions from local whites, however, he extended no such hospitality to Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen or other black cast members. In the end, the only black participants of note in the entire affair were the members of the choir at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, including the son of its pastor. Just shy of his 10th birthday, Martin King sang along as, in keeping with the film’s blatant racial stereotyping, the group, dressed as slaves, performed spirituals for an all-white audience at a Junior League charity gala.

King and Hartsfield would cross paths frequently in the years to come. Under Hartsfield’s leadership, Atlanta would leave a racially fraught Birmingham, Ala., in its dust as it rode the crest of World War II economic expansion to undisputed pre-eminence as the South’s most dynamic city. Steadily changing with the times, the popular and uber-connected Hartsfield would draw on his gift for orchestration again and again as he presided over the desegregation of downtown businesses and the city’s tiny but notably uneventful first steps toward integrating its public schools. Meanwhile, returned to share Ebenezer’s bully pulpit with his father, the younger Rev. King began to cast doubt on the mayor’s vaunted claim that his city was “too busy to hate” by consistently pushing the envelope of social change further and faster than Hartsfield had envisioned. Though Atlanta had provided a unique environment in which King could become the man he was, the city still had a ways to go.

Atlanta had found its breezy, boosterist persona in the artful and charming Hartsfield. It would be slower, however, to acknowledge its conscience — the 1964 Nobel laureate who, the day after returning from Oslo amid global acclaim, forfeited the acclaim of the local business establishment by venturing scarcely two blocks from his church to join workers picketing for better wages at the city’s Scripto Pen Company. Ironically, but surely fittingly as well, some 30 years later, the plant’s remains would be bulldozed in order to provide parking for visitors to the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District.

James C. Cobb is Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Georgia and a former president of the Southern Historical Association.

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