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So, how did a slightly bonkers misfit with anorexia, bulimia and anxiety decide to solve their problems? I became a model. As you do.

Charli Howard had always wanted to be normal - but for some reason, she couldn't quite find out how to do it. As a teenager, she felt like the only one who struggled with anxiety and self-esteem issues when everyone around her seemed to fit in. So she tried to embrace standing out: by becoming a model. Believing it would make her happy and envied, she set out single-mindedly to make it - and she achieved her dream. But the reality wasn't quite as glamorous as she'd hoped. The pressure on Charli to look a certain way took an extreme toll on her body and self-image, and no matter how thin she got, she was never thin enough.

When Charli, though medically underweight, was fired by her modelling agency for being too big, she decided she'd had enough. She used her platform for good and spoke out about the insane standards of the modelling industry, whose images influence young women and girls all over the world. Now, Charli is comfortable in her skin for the first time ever, working happily as a plus sized model in New York. Here, she shares her journey, from anorexic and bulimic teenager to happy, healthy twenty-something.

Reviews

Everyone should read this book

Model Type Face

A thoughtful, honest and articulate voice

The Observer

Witty

The Sun

Packed full of honesty and insight

Dr Radha

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780241329306

    February 5, 2019

    Puffin

    272 pages

    RRP $23.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Trade Paperback

    9780241328828

    February 26, 2018

    Puffin

    272 pages

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9780241329313

    February 22, 2018

    Penguin eBooks

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Extract

Prologue

I am not normal.

From the ages of four to six, I thought I was a dog. A German Shepherd, to be precise, though I could also be a Dalmatian, depending on my mood. The dogs I grew up with were spoiled and loved, and played around all day, so that’s what I decided I wanted to become. I’d put my hands up to my chest and pretend they were paws, then walk on my tiptoes to mimic the way dogs’ feet arch up. I’d squint at things in the distance, the way dogs do when they spot something they’re curious about, and growl under my breath at strangers. In fact, I squinted so much that my nursery sent me to an eye specialist because they thought I was going blind. I was obsessed with becoming a dog, barking at strangers in the street in the hope they’d mistake me for a real one.

To prove how passionate I was about my alter ego, I spent one Christmas writing countless letters to Father Christmas begging for a metal dog cage I’d seen in the Argos catalogue. I wanted a big one, with room for a few pillows so it was comfy to sleep in, and space to allow me to grow. Funnily enough, I was disappointed on Christmas morning.

Like many parents, mine thought this was just a phase, until my school genuinely became concerned and wanted me tested for autism. That’s when the ‘Why can’t you just be normal?’ questions began.

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