The winner of Fashion Game Changer at the 2019 HELLO! Star Women Awards says laughing: “I describe my tummy and thighs as squishy and I just thought, let’s make ‘squish’ a really empowering word.”
And Squish, which has a kitsch K-Beauty vibe, has been on her mind for a while. “I’m so into trialling products but I’ve got really sensitive skin so it was important to put something out that’s suitable for all skin types. And I’ve been waiting for the right time. I love beauty, probably more than clothes to be honest.”
Her products include de-puffing eye masks, Jelly Lip Glosses and Flower Power Acne Patches, which came from spot treatments Charli had been using on her own skin.“A lot of the patches out there are plain and quite clinical looking, and don’t actually match darker skin tones. I wanted something that made light of blemishes, something you could Instagram, even. Some of my friends are saying they’re going to wear the flowers on shoots or at festivals, which I hadn’t even envisioned. But they’re non-irritating so you can use them whenever you want really.”
Charli relocated to New York four years ago after being dropped by her modelling agency in London. Wearing a UK clothing size 6-8, she was told by her bookers that she was “too big” and needed to “lose weight”, which prompted Charli to pen a now-infamous open letter on Facebook.
She has continued to use her platform on social media (she has 181k followers on Instagram) to speak out about body positivity. “It’s not about increasing my following, it’s about engagement and posting content people want to see. My followers really respond to body shots, with or without rolls, and it makes me feel empowered - I like posting curvy pictures of myself.”
Follow Charli on Instagram: @charlihoward
She also credits New York with boosting her body confidence. “Moving there has been good for me in tonnes of ways,” she says. “Career-wise, because the curvy market in the UK is still quite far behind, but also I appreciate different standards of beauty now. I don’t worry about my weight as much because people over there don’t fixate on it like they do in Europe. Plus, I find people are a lot more open about their feelings. The more you talk and open up to people, the more you realise you are not alone.”
The full interview appears in the November issue of Hello! Fashion Monthly, which is out now…