Why this model won't stop sharing cellulite photos on Instagram

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Kayleigh Dray
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Charli Howard – aka the model who made headlines for penning an empowering “f*** you” letter to the modelling agency that demanded she lose weight – is determined to redefine what society perceives as perfection.

And continuing her bid to remind people that women’s beauty is not one size fits all, taking to Instagram, the British-born model and body activist shared a zoomed-in photo of her cellulite, along with a lengthy caption to point out “how bloody natural” all of our lumps and bumps really are.

Underneath the image, Howard writes: “They say do something each day that scares you, so re-posting this is mine for the day.”

She continues: “Despite the fact I speed walk everywhere, squat, run and occasionally do [barre classes], I'm still left with cellulite.

“I went to an all-girls' boarding school and really used to envy the girls in my class who seemingly had none, and whose bodies looked, to me, nothing less than perfect. Whenever I opened magazines, the models and celebrities I saw didn't have cellulite either - and if they did, they were shamed in the tabloids because of it, or knocked off their perch by nasty journalists who probably have it themselves (note: f**k you.)

“As a result, I felt like my cellulite was shameful, or an oddity.”

Howard, however, has come to embrace her cellulite in all of its natural glory.

“It wasn't until I got older and saw other women's bodies that I realised HOW BLOODY NATURAL IT IS. It's nothing to be ashamed of,” she explains.

“Your boyfriend isn't gonna care if you have it, and if he does, dump him for his mate. Just kidding (or am I?).”

Howard finishes by saying: “Don't get me wrong – my cellulite isn't my favourite part of my body, nor is it something I shout from the rooftops about. But I know it doesn't make me any less ugly, or is something I need to feel embarrassed about.

“So don't let it make you feel that way, either! In the words of my old pal Kendrick Lamar, ‘Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks’.”

In October 2015, Howard took to Facebook to pen an open letter addressing the body image problems within the fashion industry. In it, she revealed that – despite being a UK size six – she was repeatedly asked by her agency to slim down.

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

The letter, which didn’t name and shame the agency in question, continues: “I will no longer allow you to dictate to me what's wrong with my looks and what I need to change in order to be ‘beautiful’ (like losing one f***ing inch off my hips), in the hope it might force you to find me work.

“I refuse to feel ashamed and upset on a daily basis for not meeting your ridiculous, unobtainable 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.”

You can read the full letter here.



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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.