Iskra Lawrence isn’t pulling any punches with the Instagram peanut gallery. The model and body-positive activist known, among other things, for her extensive work in the Photoshop-free Aerie campaign, shared a photo of herself in a bright red Prabal Gurung dress on Instagram Tuesday afternoon.
Posing next to a full-length mirror and in front of the New York City skyline, Iskra Lawrence holds a photo of herself in said red Prabal dress in one hand and a gold clutch in the other. Her blond hair is pulled back in a loose, low pony, and her smile is accented by a bold red lip.
“Back in the city for a day.. found this lil gem jeez did I love this @prabalgurung dress???? what do you think of the red dress and lip???????? combo?” she wrote in the caption alongside the body-positive hashtag #everyBODYisbeautiful, which she regularly includes in many of her Instagrams. In less than 24 hours, this particular post from the model who says women should never worry about their thigh gap racked up more than 123,000 likes and 700 plus comments.
But while most of these comments were positive, making liberal use of the words “slay” and “goals,” noting that she looked like Jessica Rabbit, or simply stating that she’s “probably one of the most beautiful babes in the world,” others accused her of Photoshopping the pic. However, Photoshopping is something Iskra Lawrence is adamantly, and publicly, against — and thus, she chose not to let the accusations lie, but rather to address them directly.
“You’re supposed to be a body image inspiring model… editing your pics to make yourself look skinnier is not what you’re supposed to be about,” posted one questioning commenter. A second follower got more specific, noting that “you can see the photoshop around her waist, where the shadow curves along with her and there should be a line from the wall if there was a real gap.” But Iskra Lawrence, quite simply, wasn’t having it.
“Hey girlies I’m very confused I don’t retouch or photoshop any of my pics,” she quickly wrote in response. And she didn’t stop there: The curvy model went on to explain exactly what she will and will not do to her photographs. “Even though I don’t say it one every pic (ppl started saying we know so stop saying it all the time) I will lighten pics that are too dark to post but that’s it,” she explained, calling out the potentially negative impact unrealistic Photoshopped images have had on herself and others.
“I refuse to retouch/photoshop myself because of how it made me feel growing up,” Iskra Lawrence said, before promising to share more about her experiences with Photoshop in the future. “You won’t believe some of the pics of me from a few years ago before I realized the detriment of Photoshop to my own self-esteem and others.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, her followers appreciated her candor; the very commenter who kick-started the debate in the first place reappeared to thank Iskra, writing, “You are a really big inspiration to me so it means a lot that you’ve been really honest and you’ve taken the time to reply.” As for Iskra Lawrence herself, all is forgiven. “Life would be too hard to not be honest and open and just completely myself,” she wrote back. “I spent years trying to change myself and I’m done I’m just grateful to be able to be me and have support from so many of you all is humbling and I’m forever grateful.”