Talking with the Women Behind the All Woman Project
Unless you were actively hiding from social media last week, you’ve probably stumbled across the All Woman Project. The campaign was created by fellow models (and Clover faves) Charli Howard and Clémentine Desseaux, who have ignited an internet-wide convo about the need for body diversity in fashion—which is an issue they’ve been pursuing independently until now. After the two joined forces, they recruited a girl gang that includes Iskra Lawrence, former Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford, Denise Bidot, and Barbie Ferreira (plus many more).
Together these women have served as body-posi inspiration for girls everywhere, one post at a time. The goal? Empower women instead of ripping them apart. As Charli explained, "We want to allow women of the next generations to grow up feeling like they are limitless and see diverse women in the media as examples of what's possible." Even better: You don’t have to be a model to get involved. Upload your own images with #IamAllWoman to chime in (the louder the voices, the better). But first, see what Charli and Clem have to say about their game-changing project and how they became comfortable in their own skin.
How did you feel about your body growing up?
Charli: I grew up in the size zero era, where practically every magazine and website featured celebrities who were that thin. As a result, I hated my body. To me, size zero represented everything I didn't have—fame, wealth, celebrity friends, beauty—and I thought that if I didn't achieve that, I'd never be beautiful or successful. I felt really insecure and it wasn't until about a year ago that I learned to love my body properly.
Clem: Like Charli, I grew up thinking size zeroes had it all and the obligatory step to happiness was being thin. Society and the fashion industry were pushing this idea on me from magazines to clothing brands to the people around me.
How did you overcome your own body struggles?
Clem: It's hard sometimes, and we all struggle with body issues—even as a model, knowing that a lot of people find my body just right. Some days I don't. Most days I do, however, because I slowly learned to love my body and myself for just what I am. Perfectly who I am supposed to be.
Charli: I surround myself with good people, including my agency, who treat me as a human being and not just a clothes horse.
What was the first moment you realized there was a problem in the industry?
Clem: When I was a kid, I used to dream of seeing clothes I actually liked and fit into in the stores, and seeing women in magazines that looked a little bit more like me. I remember seeing an ad for Mango with Crystal Renn and thinking, "It smells like change." But that change took longer than expected to come around. As I started in modeling, the one thing I wanted was to change it for the better!
Charli: I think I always subconsciously knew there was a problem with it since I became interested in it as a teenager. But the problem with fashion is that it feels so unattainable that a lot of girls will try to be thin to taste a bit of it. The difference is that now, as an adult, I have the chance of changing that.
Even with great campaigns like the All Woman Project, the pressure to be thin still exists. How, as a model, do you move past that?
Charli: For me, it's an age thing. As you get older and travel and learn more about the world, you realize there is so much more to life than measurements and numbers on a scale. I realize that my happiness and self-worth are more valuable than any job or career, so people can take me or leave me.
Clem: Growing older is what did it for me, too. As I age, I don't care anymore. And as result I am happier. I wish I had seen role models like me in the past.
Where are your favorite places to turn for body positive inspiration (online or off)?
Charli: I genuinely think Instagram is great for finding strong, intelligent women, whose value lies deeper than their looks. My friends and the girls I choose to hang around are also great inspirations of mine. That's boosted my happiness tremendously!
Clem: I love Insta too, as well as Pinterest for some funny morning boosts. For a daily dose of true love and inspiration I talk to the people who really care about me. That's the only real thing nowadays, whether they're friends, support groups, or family.