Iskra Lawrence doesn’t believe in “before and after” photos. Well, not the kind you’re used to anyway.
If you’re not already familiar with the 26-year-old British model — who prefers her photos unretouched and believes #everyBODYisbeautiful — she is fast-becoming plus-size fashion’s newest It Girl.
See Most Of Sexy Selfies of Iskra Lawrence Down
“I am passionate about body image, and it’s important to show I am confident about my body,” Iskra told the New York Post, after making headlines for stripping down on the subway for the feminist Internet video series #Unmuted.
From tearing down the belief that fats rolls aren’t beautiful to her post-gym selfies about #boobsweat, her feed is perpetually (and hilariously) clapping back at impossible beauty norms and full of her own unfiltered underwear pics.
Your fat rolls are beautiful,” Iskra wrote in February. “And the reason we have been lead to believe they aren’t is because we don’t see them in the media unless someone’s being shamed for weight gain or ridiculed for their body.”
Her message joins a slowly-building chorus of other self-proclaimed body activists, who are shaping the way fashion perceives body types larger than a sample size.
Iskra’s modelling career began at 13, when she won a magazine competition after her mother sent in some photos. She landed a contract with Storm, but she would soon become disillusioned with the experience.
Your fat rolls are beautiful🙌 ⬆️I made a video about them (link in my bio)⬆️ And the reason we have been lead to believe they aren’t is because we don’t see them in the media unless someone’s being shamed for weight gain or ridiculed for their body. This is NOT the truth and not OK. Having rolls of skin / fat that are soft / squidgy or big / small does not define your beauty. I wanted to show you how my body looks when I’m relaxed and when I’m posing right next to each other so you can see how easy it is to manipulate how a body looks. (I filmed myself doing this for you on my YouTube) As a model in the industry 13years I’ve seen nearly all the pics chosen of me for lingerie & swimwear shoots are the ones where my stomach looks flattest. Which for a long time lead me to believe that’s how I should look. Because even if I did happen to have a few shots where I’m in a position you can see back fat or rolls someone had decided it’s more “beautiful” “aspirational” or will inspire more customers to buy the product if those so called “flaws” don’t exist. But things are changing I remember the first time I saw curvier models in editorials with their rolls and back fat and I remember the first time I shot with @aerie and they wanted me to not pose but be real and just myself. Then when I saw my first campaign with them and I could see my unretouched body – pics with rolls / back fat I’m not gonna lie I was shocked. That quickly turned into joy because they made me feel good enough and knew that those “flaws” didn’t mean I wasn’t beautiful in fact showing that their models didn’t have to be “flawless” was incredibly empowering. So thank you #AerieReal and everyone who created the movement it’s not just game changing but life changing ILY😘 And that’s why when I started my insta about 3years ago I created the #everyBODYisbeautiful bc we are more than the sum of our perfections we are all beautiful equal souls living in imperfectly perfect bodies.
“Every time I did a show, I would hear, ‘Her hips are too big’,” Iskra told Glamour in 2015. “So, when I was 15 going on 16, and they said I was going to have to lose weight because my hips were already 36 inches and models should be a 34.”
It’s a story that echoes throughout the industry: Model is told to lose weight, and when she doesn’t, she gets dropped.
The pressure to look a certain way is a narrative Iskra often talks about as part of her role as a spokeswoman for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and on her own Instagram feed.
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In January, she illustrated the extremities she went to in her earlier modelling days by sharing a “before” image herself six years ago, compared to now.
“People may assume that the pic on the right where I’m 3 dress sizes smaller that I was healthier,” she wrote. “Because we are conditioned to believe it’s a compliment when someone has lost weight or it’s everyone’s desire to ‘lose a few lbs’.
Made a vid about my own Transformation Tuesday 👆link in my bio👆 (the left is a pic from a couple months ago and the right is from 6/7 years ago) . I wanted to share this pic because my transformation was so much more than weight & muscle gain. I went through a mental transformation too. … People may assume that the pic on the right where I’m 3 dress sizes smaller that I was healthier. Because we are conditioned to believe it’s a compliment when someone has lost weight or it’s everyone’s desire to “lose a few lbs”. However I was obsessed to an unhealthy extreme and as you can see the image is HIGHLY photoshopped and all those years ago that’s what I wanted. I thought the skinner I was the more “perfected” I was I’d be happier and a more successful model. Letting go of that pursuit of perfection was the best thing I ever did. And instead of wanting to change my body I started working on being the best version of myself from the inside out and that made me happier and more confident. .. Everyone’s transformations look different and that’s such a beautiful thing. Just always do it for YOU, and know YOU are good enough and worthy of feeling happy, healthy and confident. Look after yourself, practise self-care and let the real you shine. .. Hope you enjoy watching my video, I’d love you to share your transformations in the comments with me. Or let me know more videos you’d like me to make. Because my channel is for you, ILY all 😘 .. #iskralawrence #everyBODYisbeautiful
“I was obsessed to an unhealthy extreme and as you can see the image is HIGHLY photoshopped and all those years ago that’s what I wanted… Letting go of that pursuit of perfection was the best thing I ever did.”
It’s just one example of the many nuggets of body wisdom Iskra serves up.
And with more than 3-million Instagram followers, something tells us her message is beginning to stick.