"And whilst I'm not the tallest, the thinnest or by any means the prettiest girl out there, I certainly feel like the HAPPIEST—and that's good enough for me."

By Faith Brar
December 02, 2016

Charli Howard made the news earlier this year after helping create the All Woman Project, a powerful photo series featuring diverse models in all their unretouched glory. Their goal? To prove the fashion photography can be beautiful without altering images and changing women's bodies.

Becoming a body-positive advocate helped Howard fall in love with the skin she was born in. Despite being body shamed out of modeling after being told she was "too big" and "out of shape," Howard has worked hard to earn back her confidence. And her latest Instagram post shows just how hard she fought to get there.

In a split-screen image, Howard shows a picture of her body when she was trying to be a size zero next to an image of her today after she'd given up on the idea of being "thin." She looks happy in both pictures, but what she really felt was entirely different.

"I may be smiling in the photo on the left, but in reality, I was miserable," she writes in the caption. "I hated life, but at the same time, I was ambitious. I associated success with thinness, just like the size zero-era influenced many girls my age."

Howard believed that the only way she would be a successful model was if was she thin. To achieve that goal, she began eating less and doing whatever it took to lose weight.

"I didn't care that my gums constantly bled, that I got constant cramps in my feet, that my hands were always cold, my periods irregular (if they came), that my skin was horrific or that my moods were erratic," she said, "because all I wanted to be was THIN."

And even after she felt like she was finally small, her former agents told her she still wasn't good enough.

"I had to be thinner because my hip measurement still wasn't the 'ideal' size to get the best modeling jobs, or to be put forward for them," she said. "And guess what-even when I was half a stone/7lbs lighter than what you see here (that wasn't my thinnest!), I STILL THOUGHT I WAS FAT!!"

Now, Howard has found a new agency, Muse Management, where she finally feels like her body is accepted just the way it is.

"I'm surrounded by beautiful girls of all sizes and shapes because my agency sees the beauty in different bodies, just like agencies should (HELLO, we're in 2016, b*tches, not 1803). ALL GIRLS DESERVE TO BE REPRESENTED IN THE IMAGES THEY SEE."

Even though it's been a tough road trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a model, Howard still encourages girl in her shoes to keep on fighting. "I'm living my dream at the size I'm supposed to be," she writes. "And whilst I'm not the tallest, the thinnest or by any means the prettiest girl out there, I certainly feel like the HAPPIEST-and that's good enough for me."

Thank you for teaching us the importance of loving your shape.