Welcome to Diving In, a new series where we sit down and discuss body confidence with inspiring women. In this piece, we sit down with English model, Iskra Lawrence. Lawrence is not just a pretty face, she’s an #AerieReal role model, an advocate with the National Eating Disorder Association and an active editor of The Runway Riot. She stars in Coco Reef’s newest campaign, Flaunt Your Shape. The campaign focuses on embracing the body positivity movement and encouraging women to show off their bodies. The goal is to show women that being who they are is not only good enough, it’s perfect. So, who better to enlist to kick off our campaign than the queen of body positivity herself, Iskra Lawrence?! Coco Reef chatted with Iskra about being a role model, her life motto and what advice she would give her younger self.
How did you become body positive? What was the journey to accepting and loving your body like?
I’ve been modeling since I was 13 and after I hit puberty and my body began to change. I was dropped from my agency because my hips were too large to be a straight-size model, and I was ridiculed on modeling sets for being the “fat girl.” I went on extreme diets and looked up different surgeries in an attempt to change my body into something it would never be. I realized I didn’t want to be this person, so I decided to accept and celebrate my body for what it was. It was then that my career as a model really took off — I signed with my agency JAG and started working with Aerie on their #AerieReal campaigns, which was a dream come true. It wasn’t an easy journey, but learning to love myself was the best thing for me, not only in my career, but life.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop fighting yourself. When you look in the mirror, stop looking at the things you don’t like and start celebrating the things that make you feel beautiful and unique. Life is too short to constantly battle yourself and get hung up on the negative.
How important is it to you to find clothes that fit your shape?
Shopping can be really daunting, but when you find clothes that you love and make you feel great, it can be a really fun and empowering.
What is your life motto?
The best gift you can give yourself is self-love. No one else’s love can have a greater impact on your life than your own.
What advice would you give for someone struggling with confidence and body acceptance?
I like to start every morning by waking up, looking in the mirror, and asking myself what I am going to accomplish that day. We are so focused on our appearance, that we often forget how much our bodies and minds can accomplish — whether that’s going to the gym, finishing a big project at work, or spending time with loved ones. By shifting that mentality, you can change your outlook on life and start each day on a positive note.
What is it like being a role model for so many people?
It is so humbling. Because I struggled for years with body image, it was important to me to use my platform to share my experience as a way to help others. Through my work with Aerie and the National Eating Disorders Association, I get to connect with so many young women and girls and talk about body image as well as mental health, which go hand-in-hand. It is both an honor and responsibility to give a voice to these issues that few people talk about.
How do you ‘Flaunt Your Shape?
I flaunt my shape by being true to myself! I’ve accepted my body as it is and focus on taking care of it, both inside and out.