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/ Source: TODAY
By Chrissy Callahan

After a couple of rough months, model Tess Holliday is feeling pretty hopeful. And the body-image activist has a great reason to be so optimistic: she graces the October cover of Cosmopolitan U.K., and the issue hits newsstands Thursday.

In a sea of waif-like cover girls, Holliday realizes how important her cover is, and hopes it can help inspire a bit more body acceptance. "If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life," she wrote on Twitter.

Holliday is known for spreading messages of body positivity, but the beauty is taking on a different topic in her interview with Cosmo U.K.: mental health.

The 33-year-old told the magazine she's been in a tough mental state until recently, and said the period of January 2017 to spring of this year "felt like the water was boiling over and things were coming to the top again."

"I remember very vividly driving in the car with Bowie (Holliday's 2-year-old son) and I thought to myself, 'I wish I could just disappear. I wish I could vanish.' It felt at that point like I was causing everyone around me so much pain. It felt like a never-ending black hole. I was so tired of hurting … I just didn’t want to be here any more," Holliday told the magazine.

On the outside, you'd never know that the body-image activist was dealing with an internal struggle. She's been an inspiring vision of confidence, and has consistently shut down body haters while encouraging acceptance. The model even started her own thriving campaign called #effyourbeautystandards.

"I created (the campaign) out of frustration," she told Cosmo U.K. "I was angry and sad that people kept commenting on my pictures saying, 'You’re too fat to wear that!' or 'Cover up! No one wants to see that!' And then one night I was lying in bed and thought, 'F*ck that!' So I posted an image with four photographs of myself wearing things that fat women are often told we 'can’t wear,' and encouraged others to do the same."

Like the rest of us, Holliday said her journey to self-acceptance is an ongoing process.

"I have good days and some days I don’t. It’s a journey. It takes a lot of work," Holliday told Megyn Kelly earlier this summer. "You have to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally before you can worry about the physical. Surround yourself not with ‘yes’ people, but people who are positive and uplift you."

Reactions to Holliday's cover have been mixed, while most are thrilled the magazine is celebrating body diversity ...

... others are sharing the kinds of hurtful comments Holliday mentioned and question whether the cover image encourages an allegedly unhealthy lifestyle.

British journalist Piers Morgan bashed Holliday's cover, citing the "ever-worsening obesity crisis" in Britain.

In her signature style, Holliday had the best response.

When all is said and done, Holliday said she's just pleased to finally be happy in her skin: "I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life now and it took me being the heaviest to finally love myself."