Model writes eloquent letter to agency that claimed she was too big to work
Even at 105 pounds, 23-year-old model Charli Howard’s modelling agency repeatedly told her she was too big and out of shape. Her 5-foot-8-inch tall body was deemed “too curvaceous” for the industry. Frustrated, she took to Facebook and penned an eloquent, honest f***-you letter to her (now ex) agency.
The U.K.-based model has since been overwhelmed by the support and solidarity she’s received. Models, young women, mothers, agencies, photographers and the press have all written to her about the pressures of the fashion industry and how it has made them or their friends feel, she wrote in a follow-up letter. “Being you, or the best version of you, is not enough for the majority of agencies.”
Without naming the agency, Howard aired her anger at the hypocrisy: “I refuse to feel ashamed and upset on a daily basis for not meeting your ridiculous, unattainable beauty standards, whilst you sit at a desk all day, shovelling cakes and biscuits down your throats and slagging me and my friends off about our appearance. The more you force us to lose weight and be small, the more designers have to make clothes to fit our sizes, and the more young girls are being made ill. It's no longer an image I choose to represent.”
With the prevalence of body-image disorders in the fashion industry, it’s heartening to see Howard able to clearly distinguish between the agency’s expectations and her own self-worth. “In case you hadn't realised, I am a woman. I am human. I cannot miraculously shave my hip bones down, just to fit into a sample size piece of clothing or to meet 'agency standards'. I have fought nature for a long time, because you've deemed my body shape too "curvaceous", but I have recently began to love my shape. I don't have big boobs, but my bum is ok plus, a large majority of my clients are ok with this."
In a follow-up letter in The Huffington Post, she says she does plan to continue modelling — but on her terms. "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 emphasise this.”