beauty standards

A Model’s Righteous Letter to the Agency That Called Her ‘Too Big’

Charli Howard.
Charli Howard. Photo: charlihoward/Instagram

Charli Howard is a very thin young woman. The 23-year-old model stands five-eight and is a size 2. But her (now former) agency found those proportions to be excessive, informing her that she could “lose an inch off her hips.” Howard responded to that suggestion by penning an open letter that crackles with righteous fury.

“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,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s no longer an image I choose to represent. I cannot miraculously shave my hip bones down. Let’s face the facts: when I was 7-and-a-half-stone [105 pounds], I still wasn’t thin enough for you. When I went to the gym 5 hours a week, you still weren’t finding me work. I can’t win.”

As it turns out, Howard isn’t the only one exhausted by the fashion industry’s idealization of emaciation. Her post quickly viral, and Howard later wrote that she was “blown away by the support and, needless to say, I am slightly overwhelmed by it all.”

With her letter, Howard joined a growing chorus of models who are speaking out against unrealistic body standards. Last month in Australia, a 23-year-old model named Rosie Nelson started a government petition to protect vulnerable young men and women from the industry’s demented beauty ideal, after her agency told her to “get down to the bone.” The petition has already amassed more than 90,000 signatures. You can read more about Howard and her letter at The Telegraph.

Model to Her Agency: I’m Not ‘Too Big’