LUX contributing editor and Storm model, Sydney Lima continues her online exclusive series, interviewing her peers about modelling life and business.
THIS MONTH: 26 year old British model, Charli Howard is certainly not just a pretty face. A woman at the forefront of the battle against Size Zero, she signed to New York’s Muse models in 2015 after publically criticising her London agency for their impossible standards. After gaining a huge following and overnight features in Vogue and i-D, she created the All Woman Project with model Clémentine Desseaux to carry the message that beauty is not in your measurements. She has since worked for huge international publications from Harpers Bazaar to Tank, as well as fronting unretouched campaigns for Nike and Mango.
Sydney Lima: How did you first get in to modelling?
Charli Howard: I’d been scouted a few times in places like Oxford Street and Camden growing up, but I was always told the same thing: that they wouldn’t sign me unless my measurements were down to a certain size. I got let down so many times by the best agencies who told me I had to have a 34″ hip, otherwise it was never going to happen. Then at 21 my friend Fletcher sent my Facebook photos off to agencies, and I got signed at a 35″ inch hip.
SL: What has been your proudest working moment?
CH: There have been a lot. Shooting with Inez and Vinoodh was great. Creating the All Woman Project has been so therapeutic for me personally. And recently I’ve worked with brands like Mango and Desigual who aren’t Photoshopping me thinner, which feels like a blessing!
SL: Why did you start the All Woman Project?
CH: I wanted to show that you don’t have to be a size 0 to be beautiful. We shot models who are all undeniably beautiful – far more beautiful than I will ever be – in a variety of sizes. But rather than Photoshopping their cellulite or stretch marks out, we left them in. Women responded so well to it.
Sydney Lima: Why do you think its so crucial to change our types of role models?
Charli Howard: I know that a lot of women of my generation – women who grew up in the early noughties – were affected by size 0 and excessive retouching. So the last thing we need is another generation of women feeling the same way, and insecure.
SL: Do you think the industry is changing?
CH: Yes I do: slowly, but surely. I think the changes are happening quicker in New York, but I think London is following suit. I think it’s now more about the personality of the girl, rather than her measurements. As women, we will always aspire to and be inspired by beautiful women. That doesn’t mean they have to be overly thin to be inspirational.
SL: What plans do you have for 2017?
CH: I want to continue being happy and to teach girls their value doesn’t lie in sizes. Life is too short to be miserable!