Plus-Size Model Shares Cellulite in Photo: ‘It’s Nothing to Be Ashamed Of’

Elise Solé
Model Charli Howard shared a body-positive photo on social media embracing her cellulite. (Photo: Instagram/Charli Howard)
Model Charli Howard shared a body-positive photo on social media embracing her cellulite. (Photo: Instagram/Charli Howard)

Plus-size model Charli Howard is letting the world know she’s perfect as is — cellulite, be damned.

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.”

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. 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: fuck you.) As a result, I felt like my cellulite was shameful, or an oddity. 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. Your boyfriend isn't gonna care if you have it, and if he does, dump him for his mate. ???????? Just kidding (or am I?). 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" ???????????????????????????????????????????????????? #iamallwoman @allwomanproject @heatherhazzan

A post shared by Charli Howard (@charlihoward) on Apr 9, 2017 at 12:49pm PDT

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.”

Let me tell you a little tale regarding the selfies pictured here. In the words of Nicki Minaj, I was "feelin' myself" in the photo on the right, despite being in Texas and having eaten more food than is humanly necessary. But hey, it was a holiday, and I was enjoying myself. Life isn't about restricting. ✖️ It's taken me a longggg time, but I like how my shape is developing. ???? I like how womanly I'm starting to look. I like how my boobs and thighs are getting bigger, which I never thought I'd say. ???????? I don't want to look like that miserable girl on the left, whose gums were always bleeding, hair was falling out, periods didn't come etc. ☹️ So anyway, I posted that "feelin' myself" photo & carried on with my day. A couple of days later, I was sent an article that had been written about me with that selfie included. The article itself was very nice, as is the girl who wrote it (she frequently writes about body positivity)… but then I made the mistake of viewing the comments. ???????????? In a nutshell, I was described as "fat", "ugly", "arrogant" and "not model material". One person said I should go and work in porn because that's all I was good for. ???? I just began sobbing at Austin Airport, which was a bit embarrassing, but it was a reflection of how I felt inside. MORTIFIED. Ashamed. FAT. Suddenly, all the old thoughts & feelings I felt in the left photo came rushing back, like how I should stop eating for the rest of the day, or start over exercising to compensate. ???? But then a random lady came over to me and gave me a hug out of the blue. Like those dickheads on the internet, she was a total stranger, but she decided to show me kindness, despite not knowing me or why I was crying. ❤️ I suddenly realised that my worth wasn't representative of some mean trolls on the internet. It's taken my years, but I LIKE MY BODY & MY SHAPE. I'm finally healthy ???? My body isn't validated by anyone else's views of me. And neither is yours! ✌???? Be kind to other girls online. You never know how your words may affect someone. ???? #bodypositive #curves #iamallwoman

A post shared by Charli Howard (@charlihoward) on Mar 26, 2017 at 7:40am PDT

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.”

Lighting. Is. Everything. 99% of pictures you see on social media are taken in the best possible lighting and that ain't no accident ???? so when I got into the elevator with the lighting on the right, I zoned in on the cellulite on the back of my arms. Yes, cellulite on your arms is a thing! I've had it since the beginning of my journey and while it's lightened up since then, it's still not totally gone… because I'm human. Seriously, girls, stop thinking you're the only one with cellulite and that it's some kind of disease! Yes, it absolutely can be reduced through healthy diet, exercise and proper water intake, but another component which you can't control is genetics, and just being human. It's not bad to want to reduce the sight of cellulite just like it's not bad to want to lose weight and feel more confident overall, but don't set out to lose weight JUST to have less cellulite. It can be a cherry on top of all the other amazing benefits. If you ask me how to reduce the appearance of cellulite, my answer will be: healthy diet, regular exercise and proper water intake – that's it. I will not suggest creams or wraps or whatever else the current fad is because those are only short term fixes (IF that..) and perpetuate the idea that health/results can be found in a bottle/package. So, do I love the look of my arms on the right? No, but I don't hate it or myself for it, either. And you shouldn't either ❤️ #fbggirls #realtalk #cellulite www.annavictoria.com/guides

A post shared by Anna Victoria (@annavictoria) on Feb 19, 2017 at 12:34pm PST

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