After years of intense dieting to fit into sample size clothes, Charli, quite rightfully, decided to embrace her natural figure and hasn’t looked back since. Charli has now fronted campaigns for major brands, starred in Vogue and penned a memoir with a dedication that reads: “To all the girls who have ever felt their bodies weren’t good enough.”
We are such staunch fans of Charli and her refreshing attitude to fashion that we’ve snapped her up as one of our columnists. Each month, she’ll be sharing her thoughts on all things fashion, diversity and body positivity.
In her first instalment, Charli shares the ten inspirational women whose feeds she devours on Instagram.
Media is changing. Forget being drip-fed the same, white, skinny body type over and over: thanks to Instagram, we now have the ability to choose the models we want to see, directly in the palm of our hands.
Let’s face it – diversity is important. For someone who tried desperately hard to emulate the skinny, size 0 models and celebrities of the early noughties, Instagram feels like the change people like me – and society – desperately needed: a chance to see real women represented, flaws and all. I know for certain that if I’d had numerous inspiring women with different body types to gaze at on social media as a teenager, my outlook on my body would have been much different.
Instagram single-handedly taught me that beauty comes in various shapes and sizes, helping showcase bodies that wouldn’t have been featured in the mainstream before. Unlike when I was a teen with only magazines to read, I then had the ability to choose who I thought was beautiful. I chose positivity, following women who made me feel good on the inside, and who had more to offer than just their appearance.
Instagram taught me that things like cellulite, stretch marks and tummy rolls are beautiful and feminine, and worthy enough of high-end designs. Most of all, though, it taught me that when women come together and put themselves unashamedly out there, we can actively change the fashion industry from the ground up.
Social media has given us a voice, and judging by the diversity we’re starting to see each season, fashion appears to be recognising the importance of fair representation. Designers, magazines and even model agencies have no option but to listen and cater to us, the consumer, rather than having us change for them.
The resounding message is that diversity, and feeling represented, is a necessity for girl’s self-esteem. So, in celebration of my first GLAMOUR column, here’s a list of ten, inspirational women I follow who you may not know of (and who I think you should be following, too!).
Being pretty isn’t enough as a role model anymore – nowadays, you need to use your voice and platform for good. Ali is not only beautiful, but an eco-warrior as well – she recently released a best-selling, sold out plus-size collection with Reformation, a brand actively trying to reduce its carbon footprint, while trying to increase its sizing options.
Jillian is a true icon and pin-up for diversity, modelling for brands including Olay and Paper magazine.
She may be new to modelling, but baby-faced Tess is already a superstar, having shot an editorial with British Vogue and beauty campaign with Marc Jacobs.
Super stylish with a fab accessories collection, La’Shaunae is the type of girl you wish you could be friends with (and whose arty instagram you wish you could copy.) Also, she just went viral after fronting the Universal Standard campaign – the first of its kind.
Hailing from Trinidad, Shivani is a beauty-brand favourite who fights for model’s rights (check out her podcast, ‘More Than A Model’). I also love the fact she has a healthy, realistic body shape.
Just looking at Naomi’s colourful account makes me smile.
She’s one of Vivienne Westwood’s muses and I just love Emma’s overall attitude and humour.
Cax is a model and blogger who recently moved to New York. She’s a cancer survivor who does a lot of women’s rights (and who taught me that you can accessorise your bionic leg in different colours!).
Natalie is not only a up-and-coming plus model, but now a singer as well, releasing her first single on her birthday. (P.S have you seen ever such beautiful eyes?!)
Who are some of your favourite body positive accounts? Let me know on Instagram at @charlihoward. See you back here next month!