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April 24, 2017 04:03 PM

 

Charli Howard‘s modeling career hasn’t been smooth sailing — she’s dealt with agents who told her she was “too big” to make it and spent years at an unhealthily low weight. But now that she’s at her curviest, she couldn’t be happier.

The British model and body activist shared side-by-side photos from when she was underweight, and now.

“Look how far I’ve come!! I may be heavier than I was, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I never, EVER want to go back to that miserable and lonely time,” Howard, 26, writes on Instagram.

“I’m proof that being thin does not make your life better. I know the idea of thinness can often feel like a gateway towards a more fabulous, exotic and fulfilled life (that’s how it’s sold in magazines and in the media), but the reality is very different. You’re just masking underlying insecurities or problems.”

Howard posted another comparison photo in March, commenting on her health when she was at her thinnest.

“It’s taken me a longggg time, but I like how my shape is developing,” she writes. “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.”

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And Howard’s body confidence is so strong, she decided to post a photo of her cellulite to help women who are embarrassed by it, as she used to be.

“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,” she says.

“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.”

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