‘We’ve got all these young girls with eating disorders and body-image problems. Beauty isn’t measured by a number’
You may remember Charli Howard. After being dropped by her agency for being “too big” last year, the size 6 model went viral – posting a sensational smackdown of the unnamed company on her Facebook account. “Here’s a big FUCK YOU to my (now ex) model agency,” she wrote in October. “I refuse to feel ashamed and upset on a daily basis for not meeting your ridiculous, unobtainable beauty standards.”
Howard, who had been a professional model for years, has since been open about her self-esteem struggles. In a follow-up essay for Dazed, she continued her critique of the fashion industry; stating that it had become a negative environment for young, impressionable women. “The pressures to look perfect are just too much to handle,” she explained. “The industry needs to stop using the same tall, skinny white girls as a way of selling fashion. That’s not exciting. It certainly doesn’t reflect the general public, or account for the vast amount of beauty in the world.”
Now, six months later, Howard has returned to stress the same message. Taking part in StyleLikeU’s “What’s Underneath Project”, the model has shared more about her experiences with body-shaming. See below:
Despite her minuscule size 2-4 frame, the video reveals that many casting agents referred to Howard as “curvaceous” and “womanly” – which led her to develop body dysmorphia. “If you’re feeling a bit shit about yourself anyway, modelling probably isn't the best industry to go into,” she says, while removing her clothes. “You’re being looked at all the time, and commented on... so you end up becoming someone that you’re not.”
Howard goes on to describe the darkest part of her struggles; which apparently saw her measure herself five times a day (“if not more”), and starve herself. She adds that her obsession with her weight ended up turning her “psycho”, and ruined her relationship. “It was a really shit time,” she remembers.
However, Howard eventually insists that she’s in a much happier place now – and refuses to deter other aspiring models from entering the industry. “Just make sure you stand your ground,” she concludes. “I feel like I'm happier than I've ever been. I feel like I'm being myself for the first time in my adult life, and teenage life, and I'm making up for lost time that I spent worrying about my looks. So that’s why I feel good.”
See more of the StyleLikeU project – which also features Petra Collins, Domino Kirke and Juliana Huxtable – here.