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 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.