A Model’s Take on Becoming “Plus” at a Size 6

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At size 6, Charli Howard is a plus size model. Howard, a U.K. model, experienced the exacting standards of the industry firsthand when her agency let her go because size 2 was too big, according to StyleCaster.

Howard said that to conform to the industry sizing, she used to starve herself. As a result, she suffered various health issues, including irregular menstruation, back problems, and hair loss.

All the effort was against her natural shape, Howard said, and it made her miserable.

So when Howard discovered that she could model without continually restricting her diet, she was amazed. She moved to the U.S. and found that plus-size, or curve modeling, would allow her to keep her career without destroying her health.

In U.S. sizing, Howard is a size 6-8. That’s fairly small, she says, but it’s in the plus category in the modeling world. While she wishes that the categories weren’t so divisive, Howard does not focus on the label. Instead, she takes the time to remind herself that she isn’t defined by just her body.

Although she was concerned that a plus-size designation for her might cause girls to worry about their own bodies, she also gave the reminder that the fashion world doesn’t reflect life.

For Howard, the transition from a “regular” straight-size model into a plus-size one wasn’t an intentional change. The model said plus-size modeling doesn’t get much serious consideration in the U.K., and that she used to believe smaller models were the only ones who stayed competitive in the business. But that mentality represents a society obsessed with thinness and a single size—a view both unrealistic and dangerous. Howard feels that if there was more size representation in fashion imagery, she might not have suffered as she did. As a plus-size model, she has her life back.

Howard is a co-founder of the All Woman Project, an organization promoting positive body image and self-esteem for girls and women. The 501-c runs school events and visual campaigns to help girls develop confidence and to promote representation.

I'm a lover of words in all forms, sweatshirts in all conditions, and God in all circumstances. I particularly enjoy working collaboratively on the written word and wearing microfiber robes (preferably at the same time). Most of the time I don't get enough sleep, but I make a valiant effort.

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