Charli Howard knew all about the ugly side of modelling. Then one day she decided she’d had enough. The body-positive activist reveals why she had to stand up to the fashion industry

It started with a pair of leather trousers. Charli Howard was 23, and had just returned from a shoot in Stockholm when she got a call from her agent. It was 2015; she’d been modelling for six years, and starving herself for 10. “We’ve had a chat,” the booker said, carefully, “and we don’t feel this is working. The Scandinavian client said you were too big to fit into the trousers. You’re just never going to be small enough.” She was a size 6, and had been going to the gym for five hours a week; she’d been eating orange juice-soaked cotton wool. It wasn’t the first time they’d told her to lose weight, to “tone up”, but it was the first time that, instead of feeling shame, she felt anger. On the way home she wrote a Facebook post.

“Here’s a big F*CK YOU to my (now ex) model agency, for saying that at 5ft 8in tall and a UK size 6-8 , I’m ‘too big’ and ‘out of shape’ to work in the fashion industry.

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