Why This Model's Body Shaming Story is a Big Deal

Charli Howard's story is mega-inspiring.
Image via @charlihoward on Instagram

A young girl gets scouted at 17 by a modeling agency. She’s tall, beautiful, has great work ethic, and yet she still gets told she is ‘too big’ and that she needs to ‘shave off a few inches’. This is the story of many young adolescent girls who are pulled into the excitement of the modeling industry only to find themselves in this situation - the exact situation that 23 year old model Charli Howard found herself in not too long ago. 

After being told that her size 4 figure and 35 inch waist still needed to be an inch smaller, Howard just about had it. In her now infamous Facebook post, she shares some colourful words about her ex-agency and how she refuses to be brought down by their ridiculous beauty standards. (Power to you, girl!) 

Some people point out that these women should know exactly what to expect from this industry from the get-go, but as Charli said in her recent interview with Channel 4 News, “…You kind of go in there thinking that your dreams have been made because someone thinks you’re attractive enough to be a model. So when people say to you that you’re not good enough, obviously that would knock anyone’s confidence.” A solid point; we are but human. 

Certainly, this is not the first time a model has called out the industry for it’s unhealthy beauty standards, so why is Charli’s story any different? It could be the timing, seeing as it’s fashion week season. Gigi Hadid recently stood up to body-shamers on Instagram, and British model Rosie Nelson recently launched a petition asking for laws protecting models from unhealthy standards. It could be the fact that Charli is already several sizes below Western averages, and was still pressured to get even smaller, so where would that leave the rest of us? Whatever the reason may be, as a result of this whole fiasco, Howard has emerged as a role model and a much-needed voice for change in the industry (and you can never have too many). 

With movements like #effyourbeautystandards and #droptheplus, alongside other voices like the eloquent Coco Rocha and Georgina Burke, there is hope. “Ironically, I do love modelling - the people I've met, the places I've visited and I am proud of the jobs I've done. I will continue to do it, but only on my terms. My mental and physical health is of more importance than a number on a scale, however much you wish to emphasize this,” Charli says. Even still, she believes the industry is changing and has expressed that she hopes to continue it. We are certain you will, Charli, we are certain you will. 

This week is Body Positivity Week at Couturesque.  We're discussing how we can learn to love all body types and create a more accepting industry where everyone can feel represented.

WHO: Alyssa, Beauty Contributor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: Toronto
OBSESSED WITH: Puppy videos!
LISTENING TO: Here - Alessia Cara
CAN BE FOUND AT: @alyssmanuel

1 comment:

  1. Karana BenetonOctober 26, 2015

    I think the author does a great job of having an open-minded perspective on this issue and approaching it from a really informed place. You can tell she did her research and compared to how other magazines have written about Charlie Howard, this is one of my favourites. yee couturesque!!!!


What do you think of this article?


I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief