On Sunday, Howard reposted an older Instagram photo of herself clutching her backside and showing off her dimpled skin. The British beauty captioned the body-positive shot, “They say do something each day that scares you, so re-posting; this is mine for the day. Despite the fact I speed walk everywhere, squat, run and occasionally do @pure_barre, I’m still left with cellulite.”
Howard described how, while growing up, she attended an all-girls’ boarding school and felt envious of her classmates and the models in magazines who didn’t appear to have cellulite. “As a result, I felt like my cellulite was shameful, or an oddity,” she wrote. “It wasn’t until I got older and saw other women’s bodies that I realized how bloody natural it is.”
The size 6 model added, “Don’t get me wrong — my cellulite isn’t my favorite part of my body, nor is it something I shout from the rooftops about. But I know it doesn’t make me … ugly, or is something I need to feel embarrassed about. So don’t let it make you feel that way, either!”
More than 4,000 people liked Howard’s post. “This photo has made me feel better about my cellulite and squishy legs,” wrote one fan. Another wrote, “You’re helping so many girls build self love.”
“It’s interesting how [cellulite], something so natural to women, can feel so unnatural at the same time,” Howard tells Yahoo Beauty. “We’re not used to seeing public images like this, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of women have cellulite. But if it makes one woman feel good about herself, then I know I made the right decision in posting it!”
In March, a before-and-after photo of Howard went viral, showing her at a thinner weight where she described herself as a “miserable girl” in one photo next to an image of her happy and healthy at her current weight. She previously told Yahoo Beauty, “These days, everyone has an editing app on their phones to spruce themselves up. But it’s important to show one’s flaws — a zit, some cellulite — because we’ve become obsessed with chasing perfection.”
Howard has always been an outspoken body-positivity advocate. She’s openly detailed her struggle with food restriction and the physical effects of that behavior such as bleeding gums, hair loss, and the absence of her period.
In 2015, Howard wrote an open letter on Facebook to her former modeling agency, sharing that the company dropped her because she was too “out of shape” to work. She wrote, “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’ … in the hope it might force you to find me work.”
That same year, Howard penned an essay for Dazed magazine about homogeny in the fashion industry, writing, “The industry needs to stop using the same tall, skinny white girls as a way of selling fashion. That’s not exciting. It certainly doesn’t reflect the general public, or account for the vast amount of beauty in the world.”
Howard is hardly alone in her quest to celebrate so-called real bodies. In January, plus-size model Ashley Graham shared an image of the cellulite on her leg in a bikini photo that received more than 395,000 likes.
And in February, fitness model Anna Victoria posted two Instagram photos in “good lighting,” which concealed the cellulite on the back of her arm, and in “bad lighting,” which revealed her natural skin tone. “So, do I love the look of my arms on the right?” she wrote. “No, but I don’t hate it or myself for it, either. And you shouldn’t either.”
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